Journal article Open Access

Detection of C3 in the Circumstellar Shell of IRC+10216

Hinkle, K. W.; Keady, J. J.; Bernath, P. F.

Vibration-rotation lines of C(3) have been identified in the circumstellar spectrum of the obscured carbon star IRC+10216. This molecule is of interest in both the chemistry of flames, where it may be involved in the formation of soot, and in astrophysics, where it is a potential building block for carbonaceous grains. This high-resolution infrared detection of the pure carbon chain molecule C(3) allows the estimation of the equilibrium C-C bond length, 1.297 angstroms. Possible astrophysical formation and destruction mechanisms for C(3) are reviewed, including the relationship between C(3) and carbon clusters.
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