Buckyballs In Space
- Year Discovered: 2010
- Location: Tc 1 Nebula
Most people do not know what buckyballs are, and who could blame them? It’s rarely something one needs to know. For those unaware, they are spherical carbon molecules that have a hexagon-pentagon pattern. You’ll likely be familiar with this look if you’re a soccer fan, as it looks a lot like that. Buckyballs get their name from Buckminster Fuller, who created geodesic domes that these molecules look like. They are involved in things like energy storage, medication, and even engineering.
The Spitzer Space Telescope was the first to identify them in space. They were discovered around a dying star in the Tc 1 nebula. The star at the very center of this nebula appeared a lot like our own Sun, but it had aged quite a lot. Its outer layers popped off, leaving only a white dwarf star. This is why astronomers now believe that carbon from the layers that flew off the star is how these buckyballs were created. Truly, this is one of the freakiest things NASA discovered in our lifetime.