The Cassiopeia A nebula is the gaseous remnant of a supernova explosion whose reached the Earth around the year 1680.

Excerpt from

A recent has revealed that a supernovae is capable enough producing such quantities of dust that it can yield thousands of Earths.

An international team of researchers analyzed data obtained by – a NASA and German Aerospace Center’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy project – which took images of a cosmic dust .

Supernova remant. Image Credit: NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al

“This discovery is a special feather in the cap for SOFIA, demonstrating how observations made within our own Milky Way galaxy can bear directly on our understanding of the evolution of galaxies billions of light years away,” said Pamela Marcum, one of the researchers.

The team made measurements of long infrared wavelengths of the Supernova Remnant Sagittarius A East, gaining an estimate for the total mass of dust within the cloud on what it released.
SOFIA, an enhanced Boeing 747 with high end telescope, flies in altitudes between 39,000 to 45,000 feet to capture its images.

Astronomers already knew that the shock waves of supernovas produce high concentrations of dust when they outward.
The question was whether the cosmic particles could withstand the intense shock waves.

“The dust survived the later onslaught of shock waves from the supernova explosion, and is now flowing into the interstellar where it can become part of the ‘seed material’ for new and ,” said Ryan Lau, of Cornell University, who led the research team.

This new discovery encouraged the idea that the vast quantities of dust seen in yet fairly young galaxies may have been produced by the explosions of large stars that were actually much older.

The research was published in Science magazine on Thursday.