Supernova remnants and the interstellar medium of M83: Imaging and photometry with the wide field camera 3 on the hubble space telescope

Michael A. Dopita, William P. Blair, Knox S. Long, Max Mutchler, Bradley C. Whitmore, Kip D. Kuntz, Bruce Balick, Howard E. Bond, Daniela Calzetti, Marcella Carollo, Michael Disney, Jay A. Frogel, Robert O'Connell, Donald Hall, Jon A. Holtzman, Randy A. Kimble, John MacKenty, Patrick McCarthy, Francesco Paresce, Abhijit SahaJoe Silk, Marco Sirianni, John Trauger, Alistair R. Walker, Rogier Windhorst, Erick Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We present Wide Field Camera 3 images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope within a single field in the southern grand design star-forming galaxy M83. Based on their size, morphology, and photometry in continuum-subtracted Hα, [S II], Hβ, [O III], and [O II] filters, we have identified 60 supernova remnant (SNR) candidates, as well as a handful of young ejecta-dominated candidates. A catalog of these remnants, their sizes and, where possible, their Hα fluxes are given. Radiative ages and pre-shock densities are derived from those SNRs that have good photometry. The ages lie in the range 2.62 < log (τrad/yr) < 5.0, and the pre-shock densities at the blast wave range over 0.56 < n 0/cm-3 < 1680. Two populations of SNRs have been discovered. These divide into a nuclear and spiral arm group and an inter-arm population. We infer an arm to inter-arm density contrast of 4. The surface flux in diffuse X-rays is correlated with the inferred pre-shock density, indicating that the warm interstellar medium (ISM) is pressurized by the hot X-ray plasma. We also find that the ISM in the nuclear region of M83 is characterized by a very high porosity and pressure, and infer an SNR rate of 1 per 70-150 yr for the nuclear (R < 300 pc) region. On the basis of the number of SNRs detected and their radiative ages, we infer that the lower mass of Type II SNe in M83 is M min = 16+7 -5 M*. Finally, we give evidence for the likely detection of the remnant of the historical supernova, SN1968L.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-978
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Galaxies: structure
  • ISM: structure
  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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