Ancient stardust sheds light on the first stars

Astronomer Dr David Quénard of the School of Physics and Astronomy is one of the authors of a research paper, published on 8 March in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, that reports the discovery of an unexpectedly large amount of interstellar dust in a very distant galaxy. The galaxy, known as A2744_YD4, is seen only 600 million years after the Big Bang and is the most distant galaxy in which dust has been detected. The presence of the dust tells us that even at this early stage, the first giant stars had lived out their lives, exploding as supernovae and ejecting the dust into the interstellar space around them. For the full story, see here.

Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA, ESA, ESO and D. Coe (STScI)/J. Merten (Heidelberg/Bologna)