Dust Particles like the ones in Milky Way found in another Galaxy

Dust Particles like the ones in Milky Way found in another Galaxy

Humanity is set to know more about the historic dust composition of the universe following an extraordinary discovery by the researchers of Niels Bohr Institute.

Researchers are exploring different parts of our universe in quest for extraterrestrial life and any similarity in this regard is considered a massive achievement. The Kepler Space Telescope of NASA is finding potential candidates for life by examining several exoplanets across the universe. In their efforts to explore more and more, an international team of scientists came up with an amazing discovery recently as they found Milky Way-like dust in another galaxy which is 11 billion light years away from the Earth. Researchers believe that this incident will play an important role in determining the formation process of this rare dust.

Galaxies are huge and complex. They are made up of several structures including dark matter, planets, stars, and dust. The dust represents only a tiny fraction of the total amount of matter in them. Despite that, it plays an instrumental role in the formation of heavenly bodies including stars and planets.  Similarly, it controls the flow of light from these stars as they have the ability to either scatter or absorb light. Generally, the dust in galaxies contain small particles of different elements like Silicon, Carbon, Aluminium, and Iron. In case of the Milky Way, the concentration of Carbon is much more than normal and it is an extremely rare phenomenon. Having said that, the discovery of Gamma-ray bursts allowed the scientists to analyze far-off galaxies and they found similar traces of dust in some of them.

When the fuel inside the core of a star is exhausted, it explodes to give birth to an emission of powerful bursts of light, which carry significant information for the researchers. A lot of insights about the galaxy including the elemental content and the properties of the dust are extracted from those beams of light. The term ‘Dust Bump’ is used to measure this carbonaceous dust. According to a recent research, a Gamma-ray burst called GRB180325A detected an ultraviolet dust bump. Tayyaba Zafar, who is working at the Angle Australian Observatory in Australia, led a team of researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) to this incredible discovery. The fact that she completed her PhD from the NBI provided the link between her and the Co-authors of the study.

The Neil Gehrel’s Swift Observatory of NASA detected the GRB180325A on 28th March 2018. This satellite mission is assigned the task of detecting Gamma rays from the dying stars. As soon as the astronomers get a signal from the satellite, they start observing that part of the sky in order to secure the vital information that helps them to study the in-depth details of that particular galaxy. At the time of this explosion, a PhD student at the University of Iceland, Kasper Heintz, was the one who initiated the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT). Within a few minutes of the Swift’s discovery, the first observation was recorded. It was clearly evident in these observations that the dust bump, similar to the one in Milky Way, was present in this galaxy.

For sake of strengthening the claims, the team also studied the Gamma-ray burst from the Very Large Telescope of the European Space Observatory in Chile. A total of 4 spectra of the light from these bursts were obtained and all of them suggested that a dust bump is surely there. Heintz explained it to the world by mentioning that all of their spectra shows that the presence of atomic carbon in dust is a basic requirement for getting these dust bumps. Professor Johan Fynbo described that in the following words:

It is a beautiful example of how observations in space and around the world can work together and create breakthroughs in research. The work also gives cause to express great thanks to the Carlsberg Foundation, without which Danish astronomy would neither have access to the Very Large Telescope nor NOT.”

The observations of NOT revealed that the host galaxy of the exploded star had a red shift of 2.25 which means that it is nearly 11 billion light years away from us. It is being regarded as an extremely important finding by the scientists as Zafar said,

Further observations of this type will allow us to find more galaxies with this dust bump and thus conduct a more systematic study of similarities and differences in dust composition throughout the history of the Universe and in galaxies with different properties.”

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