We present new images of the supernova remnant (SNR) Cas A observed in the 24 and 70 μm bands of the Spitzer Space Telescope (Spitzer). The IR emission correlates well with the Si X-ray and optical [S II] emission but poorly with either the synchrotron-dominated radio structure or the continuum X-ray emission. The IR is therefore dominated by thermal emission from dust within the SNR and associated with emission-line gas inside the reverse shock region, confirming earlier IRAS and Infrared Space Observatory results. Supplemented by new photometric measurements from archived Midcourse Space Experiment images, we suggest stochastic heating to model the overall mid- to far-IR spectral energy distribution. The 24 and 70 μm images also reveal a counterjet to the well-known northeast jet feature imaged previously at X-ray, optical, and radio wavelengths. This IR counterjet corresponds well with (optical) fast-moving knots confirming its outflow nature. The opposing jetlike features define a symmetry axis that bisects the SNR and suggest that the supernova explosion was axisymmetric. The IR images also show a region in which the SNR forward shock appears to be propagating into a ∼650 M⊙ molecular cloud. The new images also show other details of the surrounding ISM structure, including two groups of knots extending ∼6′-12′ on either side of the SNR.
- ISM: individual (Cassiopeia A)
- Infrared: ISM
- Supernova remnants