July 7, 2011

Herschel Detects a Massive Dust Reservoir in Supernova 1987A

New data from Herschel Space Observatory have revealed surprisingly large amounts of cold dust in the remnant of the famous supernova SN1987A, which exploded 24 years ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbouring galaxy of the Milky Way. With this discovery, the astronomers confirm that supernovae are able to produce significant quantities of dust over very short time scales. This may help explain previous observations, by Herschel and other observatories, of abundant dust in the early Universe as seen in high-redshift galaxies. The results are published online in Science Express.

This mosaic shows the region surrounding the remnant of the famous supernova SN1987A as observed by Herschel (on the left) and the Hubble Space Telescope (on the right) - © ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/NASA-JPL/Caltech/UCL/STScI and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA)
This mosaic shows the region surrounding the remnant of the famous supernova SN1987A as observed by Herschel (on the left) and the Hubble Space Telescope (on the right).
© ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/NASA-JPL/Caltech/UCL/STScI and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA)

Read the complete article on ESA's website
Read also the publication online on Science Express website