Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Randall L. McEntaffer


This thesis examines three core-collapse supernova remnants (SNR) - the Cygnus Loop in the Milky Way and 0453-68.5 and 0540-69.3 in the Large Magellanic Cloud - of varying ages and in varying states of interaction with the surrounding interstellar medium (ISM), using X-ray imaging spectroscopy with Chandra and supplemental data from other wavelengths. We use results from our analysis to address three main questions. First, we examine the applicability of the common Sedov-Taylor adiabatic blast wave model to core-collapse supernovae. Second, we determine the elemental abundances around the shell of these supernova remnants to determine if the use of SNRs as a gauge of abundances in the ISM is justified. Finally, we examine the pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) in 0453-68.5 and 0540-69.3 and search for evidence of interaction between these PWNe and their immediate surroundings.

We see highly inhomogeneous ISM surrounding all three surveyed SNRs, contrary to the key assumption in the Sedov-Taylor model of a uniform surrounding medium. In all three studied SNRs, we find that shock speeds are dependent on the density of the surrounding material. As subsidiary results, we also find depleted elemental abundances of oxygen, magnesium, and silicon, relative to typical ISM, around all three studied supernova remnants. Although this subsidiary result is not conclusive, we believe that it merits a followup study.

In 0540-69.3 and 0453-68.5, which contain central pulsars, we find that the explosion directionality, which can be inferred from the pulsar's proper motion relative to the SNR, is not related to the morphology of the SNR itself. We conclude from this that the asymmetric shapes common in core-collapse supernova remnants can be more a function of the complex environments surrounding the progenitors of core- collapse supernovae than of the supernova explosions themselves.

Finally, we see that the PWN in 0453-68.5 shows signs of having mixed with the surrounding thermal- emitting material, while the PWN in 0540-69.3 appears to have not mixed with or interacted with the surrounding SNR material to any substantial degree. We believe that this result may indicate that the degree of interaction between a PWN and its surroundings is dependent on age and possibly shell morphology, although further study is needed.


ISM, Pulsar wind nebulae, Supernova remnants, X-rays


xiii, 177 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 167-177).


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Copyright 2013 Thomas Brantseg

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