Where Does Space Dust Come From?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,461
    Astronomers using the ALMA telescope observe the formation of dust from a supernova explosion.

    New observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope, or ALMA, might explain why galaxies are so dusty.  Seems like supernovas could be to blame.  Observations of a supernova explosion 168,000 light-years from Earth show freshly formed dust in its remains.  Astronomers say if this dust is able to make it out to interstellar space, then it may explain how galaxies become dusty. This is the first time researchers have really been able to image where the dust has formed.  They believe that gas cooling after the explosion forms large amounts of molecules and dust as atoms of oxygen, carbon and silicon.  With this particular supernova, it now contains 25% of the mass of our Sun in newly formed dust.  These findings could help explain the formation of galaxies.