NASA’s Hubble telescope has discovered soccer-ball-shaped molecules in space. Those mysterious electrically charged particles are present in the gas and dust that occupy the space beside our solar system and between other star systems. At the moment, Hubble is exploring the location known as ISM or the interstellar medium. As per NASA, these electrically-charged particles C60 (60 carbon atoms) set in an empty sphere. The arrangement of particles seems like a soccer ball. Although, those molecules rarely exist on Earth. A newly published study, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, confirms the existence of those unique electrically-charged particles at ISM. Martin Cordiner, a research associate in the Catholic University of America’s Department of Physics, is an author of the study. As per the statement of NASA, Cordiner is now at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
According to Martin, the widespread ISM could be a place of starting the chemical reactions that are responsible for the birth of planets and life. He noted thus by studying ISM’s contents thoroughly will offer data on other components available for the evolution of stars and planets. Buckyballs or Buckminsterfullerene are different names for these molecules. Although it is not the first time that scientists have discovered those particles. But it is the first time scientists have validated the existence of the electrically-charged molecules in the ISM.
Martin said before the discovery of C60, the highest number of molecules found in space were only twelve. He added the confirmation of C60+ reveals the complexity of astrochemistry. The finding also shows that particles can exist even in the lowest density along with high ultraviolet-radiated circumstances in the galaxy. But it is very difficult to explore the ISM because the area is very far. So scientists have to examine the way it affects the light from distant star systems to know it. Now the scientists will continue to explore other places in order to find more molecules in the space. As per Cordiner, depending on the current findings, it seems that C60+ is broadly spread across Milky Way.