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Confirming Interstellar C60(+) Using the Hubble Space TelescopeRecent advances in laboratory spectroscopy lead to the claim of ionized Buckminsterfullerene (C60(+)) as the carrier of two diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) in the near-infrared. However, irrefutable identification of interstellar C60(+) requires a match between the wavelengths and the expected strengths of all absorption features detectable in the laboratory and in space. Here we present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) spectra of the region covering the C60(+) 9348, 9365, 9428, and 9577 Å absorption bands toward seven heavily reddened stars. We focus in particular on searching for the weaker laboratory C60(+) bands, the very presence of which has been a matter for recent debate. Using the novel STIS-scanning technique to obtain ultra-high signal-to-noise spectra without contamination from telluric absorption that afflicted previous ground-based observations, we obtained reliable detections of the (weak) 9365, 9428 Å and (strong) 9577 Å C60(+) bands. The band wavelengths and strength ratios are sufficiently similar to those determined in the latest laboratory experiments that we consider this the first robust identification of the 9428 Å band, and a conclusive confirmation of interstellar C60(+).
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Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Cordiner, M. A. ORCID(Catholic Univ. of America Washington, DC, United States)
Linnartz, H. ORCID(Leiden University (Leiden Observatory) Leiden, Netherlands)
Cox, N. L. J. (Sophia-Antipolis (ACRI-ST) Sophia Antipolis, France)
Cami, J. ORCID(University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada)
Najarro, F. ORCID(Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA) Madrid, Spain)
Proffitt, C. R. ORCID(Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Baltimore, MD, United States)
Lallement, R. ORCID(Observatoire de Paris Paris, France)
Ehrenfreund, P. (George Washington Univ. Washington, DC, United States)
Foing, B. H. ORCID(European Space Agency. European Space Research and Technology Center, ESTEC Noordwijk, Netherlands)
Gull, T. R. ORCID(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Sarre, P. J. ORCID(University of Nottingham Nottingham, England, United Kingdom)
Charnley, S. B. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
May 16, 2019
Publication Date
April 22, 2019
Publication Information
Publication: Astrophysical Journal Letters
Volume: 875
Issue: 2
ISSN: 2041-8205
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Technical Review
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