10^51 Ergs: The Evolution of Shell Supernova Remnants

Jones, T. W., Rudnick, Lawrence, Jun, Byung-Il, Borkowski, Kazimierz J., Dubner, Gloria, Frail, Dale A., Kang, Hyesung, Kassim, Namir E., & Mccray, Richard

Published in: PASP, 110, 125


This paper reports on the workshop ``10^51 Ergs: The Evolution of Shell Supernova Remnants,'' hosted by the University of Minnesota, 1997 March 23-26. The workshop was designed to address fundamental dynamical issues associated with the evolution of shell supernova remnants and to understand better the relationships between supernova remnants and their environments. Although the title points only to classical, shell SNR structures, the workshop also considered dynamical issues involving X-ray-filled composite remnants and pulsar-driven shells, such as that in the Crab Nebula. Approximately 75 observers, theorists, and numerical simulators with wide-ranging interests attended the workshop. An even larger community helped through extensive on-line debates prior to the meeting to focus issues and galvanize discussion. In order to deflect thinking away from traditional patterns, the workshop was organized around chronological sessions for ``very young,'' ``young,'' ``mature,'' and ``old'' remnants, with the implicit recognition that these labels are often difficult to apply. Special sessions were devoted to related issues in plerions and ``thermal X-ray composites.'' Controversy and debate were encouraged. Each session also addressed some underlying, general physical themes: How are supernova remnant (SNR) dynamics and structures modified by the character of the circumstellar medium (CSM) and the interstellar medium (ISM), and vice versa? How are magnetic fields generated in SNRs and how do magnetic fields influence SNRs? Where and how are cosmic rays (electrons and ions) produced in SNRs, and how does their presence influence or reveal SNR dynamics? How does SNR blast energy partition into various components over time, and what controls conversion between components? In lieu of a proceedings volume, we present here a synopsis of the workshop in the form of brief summaries of the workshop sessions. The sharpest impressions from the workshop were the crucial and underappreciated roles that environments have on SNR appearance and dynamics and the critical need for broad-based studies to understand these beautiful but enigmatic objects.