Ionized soccer balls in space!

Artist's concept of buckyballs in space
Image credit: NASA/JPL

An international team including Paco Najarro has confirmed, for the first time, the presence of large molecules that resemble tiny soccer balls in the interstellar medium. High signal-to-noise HST-STIS spectra taken towards different lines of sight, all backlit by massive stars, have detected the weak predicted DIBs caused by the ionized C60 Buckmisnterfullerene.

Check on NASA’s press release here. The main journal paper is available here.