Research ArticleSupernovae

Old supernova dust factory revealed at the Galactic center

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Science  19 Mar 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2208

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Dust formation in supernova ejecta is currently the leading candidate to explain the large quantities of dust observed in the distant, early Universe. However, it is unclear whether the ejecta-formed dust can survive the hot interior of the supernova remnant (SNR). We present infrared observations of ~0.02 Embedded Image of warm (~100 K) dust seen near the center of the ~10,000 yr-old Sgr A East SNR at the Galactic center. Our findings signify the detection of dust within an older SNR that is expanding into a relatively dense surrounding medium (ne ~ 100 cm−3) and has survived the passage of the reverse shock. The results suggest that supernovae may indeed be the dominant dust production mechanism in the dense environment of early Universe galaxies.

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