Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Buckyballs" Molecules Discovered in Another Galaxy

Dan just brought this to my attention. It seems that NASA astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered molecules dubbed Buckyballs throughout our galaxy. They are being discovered at such a rate that scientists are now saying that buckyballs are much more common and abundant in the universe than initially thought.

Much more common is the understatement of the hour. According to an article in, that the oddly configured carbon atom has been found by researchers :
  • throughout our Milky Way galaxy, in the space between stars and around three dying stars. They also detected the molecules around a fourth dying star in a nearby galaxy in staggering quantities — equivalent in mass to about 15 Earth moons
  • The miniature spheres were first discovered in a lab on Earth 25 years ago, but it wasn't until last July that Spitzer provided the first confirmed proof of their existence in space. At that time, scientists weren't sure if they had been lucky to find a rare supply, or if perhaps the cosmic balls were all around.
This discovery may prove to be very important as planetary nebulae that contain "buckyballs" also show many other chemical telltales that are considered important to life.

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