The first clear evidence of freshly baked stardust in a Type Ia supernova has been seen by an international team of astronomers.

It was monitored for the first three years after the explosion, the team claims. Supernova — located in a spiral galaxy about 300 million light-years away — is one of the most dust-producing supernovae ever recorded.

Their findings reveal an entirely new source for the tiny particles of cosmic matter that are thought to be part of the building blocks of life in planets and, ultimately, rocky planets and even the universe as a whole.

Until now, researchers have focused their search for these so-called dust factories on type II supernovae, massive stars that explode at the end of their short lives through a process called core collapse.

New research published in Nature Astronomyinstead focuses on SN2018evt, a Type Ia supernova.

More frequent than Type II, they usually originate from binary star systems that contain at least one white dwarf – the small, hot core remnant of a Sun-like star about the size of Earth.

Professor Hayley Gomes, head of Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy and one of the study’s co-authors, said: “One of the fundamental questions in astronomy is: what kind of stars make dust? We thought that We had a pretty good answer until ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory signaled the existence of some surprising elliptical galaxies about ten years ago.

The team spent three years observing SN2018evt using a combination of space-based telescopes, including NASA’s Spitzer and NEOWISE missions, and ground-based facilities such as Las Cumbres Observatory’s World Network of telescopes, as well as in China, South America and Australia. Others present.

Combining data from these instruments meant that the team was able to demonstrate that from the initial aftermath of the supernova explosion until 1,000 days later, the infrared “glow” coming from the dust was brightening. Another clear sign of dust formation was the dimming of the visible light from SN2018evt as freshly baked dust began to act as a smoke screen.

They found that the supernova formed new dust because its thermonuclear shock wave collided with material ejected by one or both stars in the binary system before the white dwarf star exploded.

Professor Gomes added: “Rather than highlighting an oversight in our understanding of Type Ia supernovae, our study shows that the explosive material from Type Ia needs to interact with a companion, in which case A red supergiant to produce a lot of dust.”

To be sure that the dust was created by SN2018evt, the team also needed data on the electromagnetic radiation emitted during the explosion.

Another co-author of the paper, Dr Cosimo Ancerra, based at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We used a technique called spectroscopy to examine the chemical signatures of the DNA from the supernova explosion. are like

The team believes that their calculations may not account for all of the dust produced by SN2018evt because it is likely to grow over time, and hope that the near-infrared and mid-infrared instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope will More dust will be detected in observations. Future.

Source: Cardiff University