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An X-ray and optical study of the interaction of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant with an interstellar cloud
Graham, James R.; Levenson, N. A.; Hester, J. J.; Raymond, J. C.; Petre, R. 
AA(Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720), AB(Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720), AC(Department of Physics and Astronomy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1504), AD(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138), AE(Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 666, Greenbelt, MD 20771)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 444, no. 2, p. 787-795 (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Cygnus Constellation, Explosions, Interstellar Gas, Molecular Clouds, Supernova Remnants, X Ray Astronomy, Emission Spectra, High Resolution, Image Resolution, Line Spectra, Radiative Transfer, Rosat Mission, Shock Waves
Bibliographic Code:


We have used the ROSAT high-resolution imager and optical emission line data to study the structure of a bright optical knot on the southeastern rim of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant. This knot has been identified as an encounter between the blast wave and a small isolated cloud. The knot appears in projection just behind the blast wave, which is traced by Balmer line filaments which bound the X-ray emission. The knot is a prominent X-ray feature, consisting of a numerb of filaments which are correlated with the optical line emission. These data permit a detailed view of the blast wave interaction. By combining the optical and X-ray data it is possible to trace the blast wave as a continuous surface from its southern edge around the western side of the cloud that then continues on to the north. The southeastern knot is an indentation on the surface of the blast wave. Thus the southeastern knot is not a small cloud that has been overrun by the blast wave, but the tip of a larger cloud. Bright X-ray emission is associated with bright radiative filaments. The location of this emission, upstream of the radiative shocks, implies that the enhanced X-rays come from a reverse shock. The presence of a reverse shock is further evidence that the southeastern knot represents an early stage of a blast wave encountering a large cloud. A consistent picture of the Cygnus Loop as an explosion within a preexisting cavity is emerging. These observations agree with that picture.

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