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Supernova Dust

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Until the advent in the late 1990’s of sensitive submillimetre arrays such as SCUBA , it was generally believed that the main sources of the interstellar dust found in galaxies were dusty outflows from evolved AGB stars and M supergiants, although a dust contribution from supernovae had long been predicted on theoretical grounds. The detection at submillimetre wavelengths of very large dust masses in some high redshift galaxies emitting less than a billion years after the Big Bang led to a more serious consideration of core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) from massive stars as major dust contributors. But it was not until the Herschel mission and subsequent high angular resolution ALMA observations that direct evidence was obtained for the presence of significantly large masses of newly formed dust in some young CCSN remnants. The presence of dust in CCSN ejecta can also be diagnosed and quantified from red-blue asymmetries in their late-time optical emission line profiles. I will describe the current results from these methods for estimating the masses of dust that have formed in supernova ejecta, and their implications.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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