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Session 34 - The Universe According to COBE.
Oral session, Monday, January 15
Salon del Rey North, Hilton

[34.04] Cosmology and Dust from the COBE FIRAS

J. C. Mather (IR Astrophysics Branch, NASA GSFC)

I report the results of an analysis of improved data sets from the COBE FIRAS (Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer) experiment. The new data sets have been analyzed to obtain improved limits, with smaller error bars, on the distortion of the cosmic microwave background radiation relative to a pure blackbody. These place strong constraints on exotic energy releases in the early universe. Also, an extension of the Principal Component analysis has provided new information on Galactic dust and limits on a far infrared cosmic background (FIRB) in the 0.1 - 0.5 mm range. Although the FIRAS data are consistent with a FIRB that is a significant fraction of the Galactic brightness at the poles, they can also be explained in terms of spatial variations of the properties of the interstellar medium.

I acknowledge the FIRAS team, and especially D. J. Fixsen and R. A. Shafer, for the improved data sets and significant contributions to the analyses reported here. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC) is responsible for the design, development, and operation of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), under the scientific guidance of the COBE Science Working Group. GSFC is also responsible for the software development and the final processing of the mission data.

Program listing for Monday