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V. Gorjian (JPL/NRC), E. L. Wright, R.R. Chary (UCLA)
The Diffuse InfraRed Background Experiment (DIRBE) on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite produced an all-sky map at 10 different infrared wavelengths. The primary purpose of the maps was to determine the Cosmic InfraRed Background (CIRB) radiation. The CIRB is the sum total of the redshifted and reprocessed short wavelength radiation from the era of galaxy formation, and hence contains vital information about the history of galactic evolution. Unfortunately one of the main foregrounds to the CIRB in the near infrared (1-5 microns) is the flux from stars within our own galaxy which the large DIRBE beam (0.7 deg.) could not resolve out. The optimal observational window for the CIRB in the near-IR is at 3.5 microns since that is the wavelength region where the other main foreground, the zodiacal dust emission, is the least. The area of interest for this project was a region near the North Galactic Pole which had the least intensity at 3.5 microns after the removal of the zodiacal light. This dark spot was 2x2 degrees making it very difficult to mosaic at 3.5 microns using the available arrays. Thus the field was mosaiced at 2.2 microns, then the bright stars were selected and re-imaged at 2.2 and 3.5 microns. The resulting total intensity of the bright stars was combined with a model for the contribution from dimmer stars and subtracted from the zodi-subtracted DIRBE map. The resultant intensity for the CIRB at 2.2 microns is: 11.9 +/- 4.7 kJy/sr or 16.2 +/- 6.4 nW/m2/sr, and at 3.5 microns is: 10.8 +/- 3.5 kJy/sr or 9.3 +/- 3 nW/m2/sr.
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