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Supernovae. Old supernova dust factory revealed at the Galactic center.

  • Author(s): Lau, RM
  • Herter, TL
  • Morris, MR
  • Li, Z
  • Adams, JD
  • et al.

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 solar masses of warm (~100 kelvin) dust seen near the center of the ~10,000-year-old Sagittarius A East SNR at the Galactic center. Our findings indicate the detection of dust within an older SNR that is expanding into a relatively dense surrounding medium (electron density ~10(3) centimeters(-3)) and has survived the passage of the reverse shock. The results suggest that supernovae may be the dominant dust-production mechanism in the dense environment of galaxies of the early universe.

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