NewsRemy Indebetouw has figured out why, no matter how much you clean, your house always gets so dusty! Dust production in the early universe is thought to be dominated by supernovae, but observational evidence has been minimal until now. At least a quarter solar mass of dust has formed in the ejecta of SN1987a, now revealed for the first time using the sensitivity and angular resolution of ALMA. To find out more, check out the article in ApJL.
Adam Leroy PI'd the HERACLES survey, now available through their online database. The HERA CO-Line Extragalactic Survey (HERACLES) is a Large Program that used the IRAM 30-m telescope to map CO emission from 48 nearby galaxies. As the second most common molecule, CO acts as our primary tracer of molecular, star-forming gas in galaxies. HERACLES covered a wide area in each target (out to the 'optical' radius, r25) with good sensitivity. We built HERACLES to complement THINGS, SINGS, and associated surveys. As a result we know the detailed distributions of atomic gas (HI), infrared, ultraviolet, and optical light across each galaxy. This makes HERACLES a powerful data set to study the formation of stars from molecular gas, the assembly of molecular clouds out of atomic gas, the distribution of matter (dark, light, stellar, and gaseous) in galaxies, and the dynamics and structure of the interstellar medium.
ALMA Early science began in September 2011, with an unprecedented proposal oversubscription rate of more than 9:1. Our group has several highly ranked proposals and are looking forward excitedly to this new data.
30 Doradus: Dense Gas in our Nearest Super-Star Cluster will make small mosaics of the PDR and densest molecular cloud in 30 Doradus in many commonly used molecular tracers including high and low-J CO, HCN, and HCO+. We will be able to dissect the physics of radiative feedback from this extreme but relatively nearby star formation event, and clarify molecular observations of starbursts throughout the nearby universe.
SN87a: A Unique Laboratory for Shock and Dust Physics will image the most studied supernova of modern times at ALMA wavelengths and spatial resolution comparable to the best existing images. At long wavelengths these observations will address the physics of particle acceleration in this young remnant's shock, and at short wavelengths will clarify the mass of dust being produced, in light of the large mass implied by our lower spatial resolution measurements.
The Antennae: A Luminous Stellar Nursery will map the prototypical nearby universe major merger in dust continuum, CO, HCN, HCO+, and CS, revealing the molecular cloud life cycle and distribution in time and space.