Rhodin writes "Fullerenes, also known as buckminsterfullerenes or 'buckyballs,' were detected about 6,500 light years from Earth in the cosmic dust of Tc 1 (PDF; abstract), an object known as a planetary nebula. 'We found what are now the largest molecules known to exist in space,' said astronomer Jan Cami of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. 'We are particularly excited because they have unique properties that make them important players for all sorts of physical and chemical processes going on in space.'" (More, below.)These results hark directly back to the experiments that originally identified Buckminsterfullerene, which mimicked the outer atmospheric chemistry of red giant carbon stars. Harry Kroto, who jointly won a Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1996, is excited by the findings' clarity. 'The spectrum is incredibly convincing,' the Florida State University academic said. 'I thought I would never be as convinced as I am. The fact that the four lines are there, and C70 is there, is just unbelievable. It's a spectacular paper.'"
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