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The Astrophysical Journal


We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) ultraviolet Fe i and Fe ii images of the remnant of Supernova 1885 (S And) which is observed in absorption against the bulge of the Andromeda galaxy, M31. We compare these Fe i and Fe ii absorption line images to previous HST absorption images of S And, of which the highest quality and theoretically cleanest is Ca ii H and K. Because the remnant is still in free expansion, these images provide a 2D look at the distribution of iron synthesized in this probable Type Ia explosion, thus providing insights and constraints for theoretical SN Ia models. The Fe i images show extended absorption offset to the east from the remnant's center as defined by Ca ii images and is likely an ionization effect due to self-shielding. More significant is the remnant's apparent Fe ii distribution which consists of four streams or plumes of Fe-rich material seen in absorption that extend from remnant center out to about 10,000 km s−1. This is in contrast to the remnant's Ca ii absorption, which is concentrated in a clumpy, broken shell spanning velocities of 1000–5000 km s−1 but which extends out to 12,500 km s−1. The observed distributions of Ca- and Fe-rich ejecta in the SN 1885 remnant are consistent with delayed detonation white dwarf models. The largely spherical symmetry of the Ca-rich layer argues against a highly anisotropic explosion as might result from a violent merger of two white dwarfs.