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Carbonaceous dust grains seen in the first billion years of cosmic time

Witstok, J, Shivaei, I, Smit, R, Maiolino, R, Carniani, S, Curtis-Lake, E, Ferruit, P, Arribas, S, Bunker, AJ, Cameron, AJ, Charlot, S, Chevallard, J, Curti, M, de Graaff, A, D’Eugenio, F, Giardino, G, Looser, TJ, Rawle, T, Rodríguez del Pino, B, Willott, C , Alberts, S, Baker, WM, Boyett, K, Egami, E, Eisenstein, DJ, Endsley, R, Hainline, KN, Ji, Z, Johnson, BD, Kumari, N, Lyu, J, Nelson, E, Perna, M, Rieke, M, Robertson, BE, Sandles, L, Saxena, A, Scholtz, J, Sun, F, Tacchella, S, Williams, CC and Willmer, CNA (2023) Carbonaceous dust grains seen in the first billion years of cosmic time. Nature, 621. pp. 267-270. ISSN 0028-0836

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Large dust reservoirs (up to approximately 108 M ⊙) have been detected1–3 in galaxies out to redshift z ≃ 8, when the age of the Universe was only about 600 Myr. Generating substantial amounts of dust within such a short timescale has proven challenging for theories of dust formation4,5 and has prompted the revision of the modelling of potential sites of dust production6–8, such as the atmospheres of asymptotic giant branch stars in low-metallicity environments, supernova ejecta and the accelerated growth of grains in the interstellar medium. However, degeneracies between different evolutionary pathways remain when the total dust mass of galaxies is the only available observable. Here we report observations of the 2,175 Å dust attenuation feature, which is well known in the Milky Way and galaxies at z ≲ 3 (refs. 9–11), in the near-infrared spectra of galaxies up to z ≃ 7, corresponding to the first billion years of cosmic time. The relatively short timescale implied for the formation of carbonaceous grains giving rise to this feature12 suggests a rapid production process, possibly in Wolf–Rayet stars or supernova ejecta.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: General Science & Technology
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2023 16:48
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2023 17:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41586-023-06413-w
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22082
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