Scientists may have found the source of the mysterious glows seen in the sky.
According to a theoretical new work, at least some of these bands can be produced by highly ionized buckminsterfullerene.
"I am very proud to have played a part in the quantum chemistry investigations undertaken by Dr. Sadjadi that have led to these very exciting results," said the astronomer.
The work shows that the emission signatures from Carbon 60 are an excellent match for some of the most prominent UnidentifiedInfrared Emission features. This will help re-inspire this area.
A molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms is called Buckminster Fullerene. It can be found in the soot left by the burning of organic matter.
The molecule was found in the gas around a star in 2012 and in the empty space between the stars in 2019.
Buckyballs are forged by dying stars, but it's not clear how they get there. Scientists have been fascinated by its properties since they are there.
The buckyballs were shown to take a beating from the harsh conditions of space by the two scientists.
They can become highly ionized when they add or remove electrons. The buckyball can be removed with up to 26 electrons.
The research didn't cover the changes that level of ionization would cause. A group of people affiliated with the Laboratory for Space Research set out to investigate.
They used quantum chemical calculations to figure out the wavelength of the molecule.
They compared their findings to the observations of other objects. The results are both intriguing and provocative.
The team found that buckyballs emit mid-IR light at some of the key wavelength associated withUIE.
The emission of buckyballs with 1 to 6 electrons removed can be compared to the emission of PAHs in the 6.2-micrometer band.
Since PAHs are another carrier ofUIE, they can be distinguished from other carriers.
The team believes that the research presents a strong case for future observations to help track down the ionized buckminsterfullerene.
We showed in our first paper that highly ionized fullerenes can survive in space. Sadjadi said that asking how much air can be pushed out of a football ball is like asking how much air can be pushed out of a car.
We worked with two other leading astrophysicists and planetary scientists to determine the ionized buckyballs' musical notes.
The research is in a journal.