Detection of C60 in embedded young stellar objects, a Herbig Ae/Be star and an unusual post-asymptotic giant branch star


E-mail: (KRGR); (KTS); (PJS)

Present address: Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BQ.


The first detection of the C60 (Buckminsterfullerene) molecule in massive embedded young stellar objects (YSOs) is reported. Observations with the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph reveal the presence of C60 in YSOs ISOGAL-P J174639.6−284126 and SSTGC 372630 in the Central Molecular Zone in the Galactic Centre and in a YSO candidate, 2MASS J06314796+0419381, in the Rosette nebula. The first detection of C60 in a Herbig Ae/Be star, HD 97300, is also reported. These observations extend the range of astrophysical environments in which C60 is found to YSOs and a pre-main-sequence star. C60 excitation and formation mechanisms are discussed in the context of these results, together with its presence and processes in post-asymptotic giant branch objects such as HR 4049.