February 26, 2024

“Dirty” Surprise: Webb Space Telescope Locates Dust Reservoirs in Two Supernovae

This image from the Kitt Peak National Observatory of NGC 6946 contextualizes the places of Supernova 2004et and Supernova 2017eaw within the galaxy. Researchers using NASAs James Webb Space Telescopes MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) discovered big amounts of dust within 2 Type II supernovae, Supernova 2004et (SN 2004et) and Supernova 2017eaw (SN 2017eaw), situated 22 million light-years away from Earth in the spiral nebula NGC 6946. The big amounts of dust discovered in these supernovae using MIRI assistance that supernovae played a crucial role in supplying dust to the early universe.Credit: KPNO, NSFs NOIRLab, AURA, Alyssa Pagan (STScI).
Webb Space Telescope Locates Dust Reservoirs in Two Supernovae.
Researchers utilizing NASAs James Webb Space Telescope have made significant strides in validating the source of dust in early galaxies. Observations of 2 Type II supernovae, Supernova 2004et (SN 2004et) and Supernova 2017eaw (SN 2017eaw), have exposed big amounts of dust within the ejecta of each of these things. The mass found by researchers supports the theory that supernovae played an essential function in supplying dust to the early universe.
Dust: The Galactic Building Block.
As dust from passing away stars spreads through area, it brings essential components to assist give birth to the next generation of stars and their planets. One considerable source of cosmic dust could be supernovae– after the dying star explodes, its leftover gas expands and cools to produce dust.
” Direct proof of this phenomenon has been slim as much as this point, with our capabilities just enabling us to study the dust population in one relatively close-by supernova to date– Supernova 1987A, 170,000 light-years away from Earth,” said lead author Melissa Shahbandeh of Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “When the gas cools enough to form dust, that dust is just noticeable at mid-infrared wavelengths provided you have enough level of sensitivity.”.
For supernovae more distant than SN 1987A like SN 2004et and SN 2017eaw, both in NGC 6946 (see image above) about 22 million light-years away, that combination of wavelength coverage and beautiful sensitivity can only be obtained with Webbs MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument).
This picture of NGC 6946 highlighting two supernovae, SN 2004et and SN 2017eaw, by Webbs MIRI (Mid-Infrared Camera), reveals compass arrows, scale bar, and color secret for reference.The north and east compass arrows show the orientation of the image on the sky. The scale bar is labeled 2,600 light-years. This image shows undetectable mid-infrared wavelengths of light that have actually been translated into visible-light colors. When gathering the light, the color secret shows which MIRI filters were utilized. The color of each filter name is the visible light color used to represent the infrared light that travels through that filter. In these images, blue, green, and red were appointed to Webbs MIRI data at 10; 11.3, 12.8, and 15.0; and 18 and 21 microns (F1000W; F1500W, f1130w, and f1280w; and F1800W and F2100W, respectively). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Ori Fox (STScI), Melissa Shahbandeh (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI).
Substantial Discoveries and Implications.
The Webb observations are the very first development in the research study of dust production from supernovae given that the detection of freshly formed dust in SN 1987A with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope almost a years back.
Another particularly interesting result of their research study isnt simply the detection of dust, but the amount of dust discovered at this early stage in the supernovas life. In SN 2004et, the scientists discovered more than 5,000 Earth masses of dust.
” When you take a look at the computation of how much dust were seeing in SN 2004et particularly, it matches the measurements in SN 1987A, and its only a fraction of the age,” included program lead Ori Fox of the Space Telescope Science Institute. “Its the greatest dust mass spotted in supernovae given that SN 1987A.”.
Observations have shown astronomers that young, distant galaxies are brimming with dust, but these galaxies are not old enough for intermediate-mass stars, like the Sun, to have actually provided the dust as they age. More enormous, temporary stars could have passed away soon sufficient and in large enough numbers to develop that much dust.
Emerging Questions and Future Studies.
While astronomers have actually validated that supernovae produce dust, the concern has lingered about just how much of that dust can make it through the internal shocks resounding in the aftermath of the explosion. Seeing this quantity of dust at this phase in the life times of SN 2004et and SN 2017eaw recommends that dust can make it through the shockwave– evidence that supernovae truly are very important dust factories after all.
Scientists likewise note that the existing evaluations of the mass might be the suggestion of the iceberg. While Webb has actually enabled scientists to determine dust cooler than ever in the past, there might be undiscovered, cooler dust radiating even further into the electromagnetic spectrum that stays obscured by the outermost layers of dust.
The researchers emphasized that the new findings are likewise just a tip at newly found research capabilities into supernovae and their dust production utilizing Webb, and what that can inform us about the stars from which they came.
” Theres a growing excitement to comprehend what this dust also suggests about the core of the star that exploded,” Fox said. “After looking at these specific findings, I think our fellow scientists are going to be thinking about innovative ways to work with these dirty supernovae in the future.”.
SN 2004et and SN2017eaw are the first of 5 targets included in this program. The observations were finished as part of Webb General Observer program 2666. The paper was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on July 5.
Referral: “JWST observations of dust reservoirs in type IIP supernovae 2017eaw and 2004et” by Melissa Shahbandeh, Arkaprabha Sarangi, Tea Temim, Tamás Szalai, Ori D Fox, Samaporn Tinyanont, Eli Dwek, Luc Dessart, Alexei V Filippenko, Thomas G Brink, Ryan J Foley, Jacob Jencson, Justin Pierel, Szanna Zsíros, Armin Rest, WeiKang Zheng, Jennifer Andrews, Geoffrey C Clayton, Kishalay De, Michael Engesser, Suvi Gezari, Sebastian Gomez, Shireen Gonzaga, Joel Johansson, Mansi Kasliwal, Ryan Lau, Ilse De Looze, Anthony Marston, Dan Milisavljevic, Richard OSteen, Matthew Siebert, Michael Skrutskie, Nathan Smith, Lou Strolger, Schuyler D Van Dyk, Qinan Wang, Brian Williams, Robert Williams, Lin Xiao and Yi Yang, 5 July 2023, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.DOI: 10.1093/ mnras/stad1681.
About the James Webb Space Telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the worlds premier space science observatory. Tasked with unveiling enigmas within our planetary system and beyond, Webb will provide insights into the complex structures and genesis of our universe and our position within it. Webb runs as a collaborative effort, guided by NASA and supported by its partners, ESA and CSA.

The large amounts of dust found around these supernovae support the theory that supernovae played a key function in supplying dust to the early universe.SN 2004et is highlighted in the left panel of this image, and SN 2017eaw in the right panel. In these images, the bluer colors suggest hotter dust, while red is cooler dust. Researchers using NASAs James Webb Space Telescopes MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) discovered large amounts of dust within two Type II supernovae, Supernova 2004et (SN 2004et) and Supernova 2017eaw (SN 2017eaw), situated 22 million light-years away from Earth in the spiral galaxy NGC 6946. The big quantities of dust discovered in these supernovae using MIRI assistance that supernovae played a key role in providing dust to the early universe.Credit: KPNO, NSFs NOIRLab, AURA, Alyssa Pagan (STScI).
One considerable source of cosmic dust could be supernovae– after the dying star takes off, its remaining gas expands and cools to develop dust.

The large quantities of dust found around these supernovae support the theory that supernovae played a crucial function in supplying dust to the early universe.SN 2004et is highlighted in the left panel of this image, and SN 2017eaw in the best panel. In these images, the bluer colors indicate hotter dust, while red is cooler dust.
New finding recommends supernovae are most likely providers of dust to early, young galaxies.
Supernovae, the explosive deaths of stars, are a few of the universes greatest bursts of energy and light. When they erupt, one supernova can shine even brighter than a whole galaxy.
Its a fitting factor for NGC 6946, situated 22 million light-years far from Earth, to be nicknamed the Fireworks Galaxy. In the past century, nearly a lots supernovae have actually been observed flashing in the arms of this galaxy.
This consists of Supernova 2004et and Supernova 2017eaw, which scientists are now studying with the James Webb Space Telescopes MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). Their findings have actually been surprising– MIRI discovered big amounts of dust within the ejecta of each of these things. The mass found by researchers supports the theory that supernovae played a key role in supplying dust to the early universe.