Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Letters of the Astrophysical Journal


Department of Physics and Astronomy


We present new Chandra ACIS-S3 observations of Cassiopeia A which, when combined with earlier ACIS-S3 observations, show evidence for a steady ~ 1.5-2%/yr decline in the 4.2-6.0 keV X-ray emission between the years 2000 and 2010. The computed flux from exposure corrected images over the entire remnant showed a 17% decline over the entire remnant and a slightly larger (21%) decline from regions along the remnant's western limb. Spectral fits of the 4.2-6.0 keV emission across the entire remnant, forward shock filaments, and interior filaments indicate the remnant's nonthermal spectral powerlaw index has steepened by about 10%, with interior filaments having steeper powerlaw indices. Since TeV electrons, which give rise to the observed X-ray synchrotron emission, are associated with the exponential cutoff portion of the electron distribution function, we have related our results to a change in the cutoff energy and conclude that the observed decline and steepening of the nonthermal X-ray emission is consistent with a deceleration of the remnant's ~5000 km/s forward shock of ~10--40 km/s/yr



Original Citation

Daniel J. Patnaude et al 2011 ApJL 729 L28