High-Resolution Optical Spectroscopy of DY Cen: Diffuse Interstellar Bands in a Proto-Fullerene Circumstellar Environment?
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We search high-resolution and high-quality VLT/UVES optical spectra of the hot R Coronae Borealis star DY Cen for electronic transitions of the C-60 molecule and diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). We report the non-detection of the strongest C-60 electronic transitions (e. g., those at similar to 3760, 3980, and 4024 angstrom). The absence of C-60 absorption bands may support recent laboratory results, which show that the similar to 7.0, 8.5, 17.4, and 18.8 mu m emission features seen in DY Cen-and other similar objects with polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbon-like dominated IR spectra-are attributable to proto-fullerenes or fullerene precursors rather than to C-60. DIBs toward DY Cen are normal for its reddening; the only exception is the DIB at 6284 angstrom (possibly also the 7223 angstrom DIB) which is found to be unusually strong. We also report the detection of a new broad (FWHM similar to 2 angstrom) and unidentified feature centered at similar to 4000 angstrom. We suggest that this new band may be related to the circumstellar proto-fullerenes seen at infrared wavelengths.