One of the youngest supernova remnants known, a glowing red ball of dust created by the explosion 1,000 years ago of a supermassive star in a nearby galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, exhibits the same problem as exploding stars in our own galaxy: too little dust.
Recent measurements by University of California, Berkeley, astronomers using infrared cameras aboard NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope show, at most, one-hundredth the amount of dust predicted by current theories of core-collapse supernovae, barely the mass of the planets in the solar system.
The discrepancy presents a challenge to scientists trying to understand the origins of stars in the early universe, because dust produced primarily from exploding stars is believed to seed the formation of new-generation stars. While remnants of supermassive exploding stars in the Milky Way galaxy also show less dust than predicted, astronomers had hoped that supernovae in the less-evolved Small Magellanic Cloud would accord more with their models.
Robert Sanders | EurekAlert!
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