Perhaps as impressive as the buckyballs themselves is the fact that Spitzer found them at all. They were detected in a planetary nebula called Tc 1, where an aging star had likely shed a layer of carbon rich material into a cloud. Light passing through the cloud gave off the unique spectral signatures of the buckyballs, which only made their presence known because they were at the right temperature to be seen. It’s impressive enough that Spitzer can peer out into the universe and analyze its contents down to the molecule. Looking at the right place at the right time, that’s just cosmic good fortune.