Astronomers detect oldest known stardust in distant galaxy | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

Astronomers detect oldest known stardust in distant galaxy

Observations offer clues to early cosmic history

By
6:00am, March 8, 2017
illustration of galaxy dust

DISTANT DUST  Observations from an array of telescopes in Chile show that a distant, young galaxy (illustrated above) is filled with dust probably produced by the first supernova explosions in the universe.

Astronomers may have spotted some of the earliest stardust ever created in the cosmos.

Astrophysicist Nicolas Laporte of University College London and colleagues detected the dust in a galaxy seen as it was when the universe was only 600 million years old. “We are probably seeing the first stardust of the universe,” Laporte says. The observations, published online March 8 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, could help astronomers learn more about an early period known as cosmic reionization, when ultraviolet radiation stripped electrons from hydrogen atoms.

“Dust is ubiquitous in nearby and more distant galaxies, but has, until recently, been very difficult to detect in the very early universe,” says University of Edinburgh astrophysicist Michal Michalowski, who was not involved in the study. “This paper presents the most distant galaxy for

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content