Volume 605, September 2017
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||31 August 2017|
Detection of buckminsterfullerene emission in the diffuse interstellar medium
1 Université de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP, 31028 Toulouse, France
2 CNRS, IRAP, 9 Av. colonel Roche, BP 44346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
3 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, strada 54, localit Poggio dei Pini, 09012 Capoterra (CA), Italy
Received: 22 December 2016
Accepted: 20 June 2017
Emission of fullerenes in their infrared vibrational bands has been detected in space near hot stars. The proposed attribution of the diffuse interstellar bands at 9577 and 9632 Å to electronic transitions of the buckminsterfullerene cation (i.e. C60+) was recently supported by new laboratory data, confirming the presence of this species in the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). In this Letter, we present the detection, also in the diffuse ISM, of the 17.4 and 18.9 μm emission bands commonly attributed to vibrational bands of neutral C60 . According to classical models that compute the charge state of large molecules in space, C60 is expected to be mostly neutral in the diffuse ISM. This is in agreement with the abundances of diffuse C60 we derive here from observations.
Key words: infrared: ISM / ISM: molecules / ISM: lines and bands
© ESO, 2017
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