Research report 2004 - Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Mysterious Stellar Dust in the Early Universe
Krause, Oliver; Birkmann, Stephan M.; Lemke, Dietrich; Klaas, Ulrich
SummaryIn 2003, large quantities of dust were detected in the most distant quasars. So the question arose how this dust could possibly have formed within only about 700 million years after the big bang. The mystery soon seemed to be solved: a team of astronomers claimed to have detected enormous amounts of dust in the Cassiopeia A (Cas A) supernova remnant. The scientists concluded from this that type II supernovae were the first to produce dust in the universe. When astronomers at MPIA followed up this issue they came to a different conclusion: The dust detected at Cas A has nothing to do with the supernova remnant but actually belongs to an extended dust complex lying between Earth and Cas A. Thus the question about the origin of the dust in the early universe is still open.