This artist's image illustrates vibrating buckyballs -- spherical molecules of carbon discovered in space for the first time by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
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Buckyballs Jiggle Like Jello (Artist Concept)

animation for PIA13290
Click on the image for animation

This artist's animation illustrates vibrating buckyballs -- spherical molecules of carbon discovered in space for the first time by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. These molecules jiggle, shimmy and shake in a variety of ways -- 174 to be exact. Four of these vibrational modes cause the molecules to either absorb or generate infrared light. Thanks to these jiggles, Spitzer's infrared vision was able to detect the long-sought signatures of buckyballs in space.

Image details

ID#:
PIA13290

Date added:
2010-07-22

Mission:
Spitzer Space Telescope

Spacecraft:
Spitzer Space Telescope

Size:
1280 x 717 pixels (width x height)

Rating:



Views:
3,791

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA13290.tif (2.76 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA13290.jpg (0.04 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech