Research ArticleSupernovae

Old supernova dust factory revealed at the Galactic center

Science  19 Mar 2015:

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2208

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Abstract

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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