Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal


Department of Physics and Astronomy


We describe and report progress on the joint U.S. and German campaign to map the X-ray emission from the entire Cygnus Loop supernova remnant with the ROSAT High Resolution Imager. The Cygnus Loop is the prototype for a supernova remnant that is dominated by interactions with the interstellar medium and supplies fundamental physical information on this basic mechanism for shaping the interstellar medium. The global view that these high-resolution observations provide emphasizes the inhomogeneity of the interstellar medium and the pivotal nature of cloud-blast wave interactions in determining the X-ray morphology of the supernova remnant. While investigating the details of the evolution of the blast wave, we also describe the interstellar medium in the vicinity of the Cygnus Loop, which the progenitor star has processed. Although we do not expect the X-ray observations to be complete until September 1997, the incomplete data combined with deep Hα images provide definitive evidence that the Cygnus Loop was formed by an explosion within a preexisting cavity.