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Keywords:

  • astrochemistry;
  • binaries: symbiotic;
  • circumstellar matter;
  • stars: individual: XX Oph;
  • infrared: stars

ABSTRACT

We present infrared spectra of the binary XX Oph obtained with the Infrared Spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The data show some evidence for the presence of solid C60– the first detection of C60 in the solid phase – together with the well-known ‘unidentified infrared’ emission features. We suggest that, in the case of XX Oph, the C60 is located close to the hot component, and that in general it is preferentially excited by stars having effective temperatures in the range 15 000–30 000 K. C60 may be common in circumstellar environments, but unnoticed in the absence of a suitable exciting source.