Gas phase spectroscopic laboratory experiments for the buckminsterfullerene cation C60+ have resulted in accurate rest wavelengths for five C60+ transitions that have been compared with diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) in the near infra-red. Detecting these in astronomical spectra is difficult because of the strong contamination of ground-based spectra by atmospheric water vapor, to the presence of weak and shallow stellar lines and/or blending with other weak DIBs. The detection of the two strong bands has been claimed by several teams, and the three additional and weaker bands have been detected in a few sources. Certain recent papers have argued against the identification of C60+ based on spectral analyses claiming (i) a large variation in the ratio of the equivalent widths of the 9632 and 9577 Å bands, (ii) a large redshift of the 9632 Å band for the Orion star HD 37022, and (iii) the non-detection of the weaker 9428 Å DIB. Here we address these three points: (i) We show that the model stellar line correction for the 9632 Å DIB overestimates the difference between the strengths of the lines in giant and dwarf star spectra, casting doubts on the conclusions about the ratio variability. (ii) Using high quality stellar spectra from the ESO Diffuse Interstellar Bands Large Exploration Survey (EDIBLES), recorded with the ESO/Paranal Ultraviolet Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) in about the same atmospheric conditions, we find no wavelength shift in the 9632 Å band toward HD 37022. (iii) Using EDIBLES spectra and data from the Echelle SpectroPolarimetric Device for the Observation of Stars (ESPaDOnS) at CFHT we show that the presence of a weak 9428 Å band cannot be ruled out, even in the same observations that a previous study claimed it was not present.
Lallement, R., Cox, N. L. J., Cami, J., Smoker, J., Fahrang, A., Elyajouri, M., … Foing, B. H. (2018). The EDIBLES survey II. the detectability of C60+ bands. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 614. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201832647