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.

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

Maiolino Roberto;Carniani Stefano;Perna Marianna;
2023

Abstract

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.
2023
Settore FIS/05 - Astronomia e Astrofisica
   Winds in galaxies
   WINGS
   European Commission
   Horizon Europe Framework Programme
   101040227
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/139174
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