A Cool Dust Factory in the Crab Nebula: A Herschel Study of the Filaments

Whether supernovae are major sources of dust in galaxies is a long-standing debate. We present infrared and submillimeter photometry and spectroscopy from the Herschel Space Observatory of the Crab Nebula between 51 and 670 micron as part of the Mass Loss from Evolved StarS program (MESS). We compare the emission detected with Herschel with multiwavelength data including millimetre, radio, mid-infrared and archive optical images. We carefully remove the synchrotron component using the Herschel and Planck fluxes measured in the same epoch. The contribution from line emission is removed using Herschel spectroscopy combined with Infrared Space Observatory archive data. Several forbidden lines of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen are detected where multiple velocity components are resolved, deduced to be from the nitrogen-depleted, carbon-rich ejecta. No spectral lines are detected in the SPIRE wavebands; in the PACS bands, the line contribution is 5 and 10% at 70 and 100 micron and negligible at 160 micron. After subtracting the synchrotron and line emission, the remaining far-infrared continuum can be fit with two dust components. Assuming standard interstellar silicates, the mass of the cooler component is 0.24(+0.32)(-0.08) Msolar for T = 28.1(+5.5)(-3.2)K. Amorphous carbon grains require 0.11 +/- 0.01 Msolar of dust with T = 33.8(+2.3)(-1.8) K. A single temperature modified-blackbody with 0.14Msolar and 0.08Msolar for silicate and carbon dust respectively, provides an adequate fit to the far- infrared region of the SED but is a poor fit at 24-500 micron. The Crab Nebula has condensed most of the relevant refractory elements into dust, suggesting the formation of dust in core-collapse supernova ejecta is efficient.

Paper Reference: 
ApJ in press
Paper Authors: 

H. L. Gomez, O. Krause, M. J. Barlow, B. M. Swinyard, P. J. Owen, C. J. R. Clark, M. Matsuura, E. L. Gomez, J. Rho, M.-A. Besel, J. Bouwman, W. K. Gear, Th. Henning, R. J. Ivison, E. T. Polehampton, B. Sibthorpe

Publication Date: 
25 September, 2012