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Session 91 - COBE and the Search for the Cosmic Infrared Background.
Oral session, Friday, January 09

[91.06] The COBE / FIRAS Final Deliveries II: The Correlations and Caveats Relating Galactic Emission and the Far Infrared Background

R. A. Shafer, J. C. Mather (NASA/GSFC), D. J. Fixsen, S. Brodd, K. A. Jensen (Hughes/STX)

The recently delivered COBE / FIRAS `Pass 4' data sets offer an improvement of almost a factor of two, over earlier versions, in the signal to noise of narrow features and the high frequency broad band emission. This is reflected in the improvements in the FIRAS maps of the thermal emission of dust, and of atomic and molecular lines from our local galaxy. These give important information about the ISM throughout the Galaxy. Besides their own intrinsic value, these signals must be accurately determined, and removed, in order to detect a possible isotropic far infrared background (FIRB). A definitive measurement of the FIRB requires estimating and removing the high galactic latitude foreground emission with a precision of at least 10%\. Simple models and assumptions (e.g. the universality of the foreground spectral form and the constancy of the dust to neutral hydrogen ratio) can yield a FIRB from the FIRAS observations. However, the expected variation in the astrophysics of the local ISM, and observed variations in the FIRAS high latitude spectra, complicate the achievement of a sufficiently precise removal of the galactic foreground.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration / Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC) was reponsible for the design, development, and operation of the Cosmic Background Explorer. GSFC was also responsible for the development of the analysis software and for the production of the mission datasets. The COBE program was supported by the Astrophysics Division of NASA's Office of Space Science.

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