Posted on Friday, July 11, 2014
By Kadri
Astronomers have been able to follow the formation of stardust after a supernova explosion for the first time.

The observations of the supernova SN2010jl with European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) using the X-shooter spectrograph in both visual and in near-infrared wavelengths in the first months following the supernova explosion and two and a half years later, enabled astronomers to see for the first time how the dust surrounding the supernova absorbs light of different wavelengths.

Artist's impression of dust formation around a supernova explosion. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

The astronomers found that dust formation starts right after the supernova explosion and continues for a long time in a two-stage process.

Although dust formation in supernova explosions has been observed before, the new observations also enable the scientists to find out the size of the dust grains and their composition, which solved the problem of how dust grains can survive the environment in the supernova remnant - the dust grains are bigger than previously thought.

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