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Old supernova dust factory revealed at the Galactic center


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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