The full-scale interaction between the blast wave from SN 1987A and its circumstellar equatorial ring (ER) has begun, with at least six new ``hot spots'' of shock emission discovered in both ground-based and HST data in the last year. Much like the first spot, these new regions of shocked gas are rapidly evolving both photometrically and spectrally. The temporal evolution of these shocks can reveal information about the structure of the ER and shocks on spatial scales smaller than the imaging resolution of HST. We report on our Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) images and spectral imaging taken in May and November of 2000, and compare them to earlier STIS observations. Spatially-registered spectral image subtraction between G750M data from 2000 May and 1997 April reveals the presence of at least seven hot spots in total. We will present spectrophotometry for these spots and any newly-forming shocks uncovered in the 2000 November observations. We will use light-delay-corrected analyses of G430L and G750L spectra to combine individual spot measurements and produce a better time-sampling of the spectral evolution of a typical ``hot spot,'' or to reveal differences between them. Additionally, we will discuss the nature of a faint ``quasi-continuum'' of emission associated with the first hot spot. This research was supported by NASA grant NAG5-3502 and STScI grants GO 8806 and GO 8872.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2000