Smoking Supernovae as Cosmic Dust Factories

Session 1: 11:40am Friday, 5 February
Smoking supernovae as cosmic dust factories

Cosmic dust has a huge impact on our view of the heavens, yet its origin is still a mystery. Massive stars, which live fast and die young, culminating in an explosion (supernovae), could provide a source of dust grains and explain the dusty galaxies seen in the early Universe. Our observations which detect heat directly from cool dust suggest that supernovae are indeed prolific dust factories. This research provides a tantalizing glimpse into the formation of the first solid particles and the building blocks for rocky planets in the Universe.



About Haley GOmez 

Professor Haley Gomez is an astrophysicist working at Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy. She uses the most sensitive infrared cameras in space to reveal the origins of the building blocks of life – cosmic dust grains and has published over 100 papers. Her research has been recognized with an award from the Royal Astronomical Society for noteworthy contribution for an early career researcher. In 2015 she was also awarded a prestigious and highly competitive grant worth 1.8 million euros to measure the dust content of galaxies since the Big Bang.

Throughout her career, she has also taken a leading role in bringing research to the public and, in particular, encouraging girls and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. She received an Inspire Wales Award in 2014 for most inspirational person in the Science and Technology Category for this work.