A rocket-borne observation of the far-infrared sky at high Galactic latitude

M. Kawada, J. J. Bock, V. V. Hristov, A. E. Lange, H. Matsuhara, T. Matsumoto, S. Matsuura, P. D. Mauskopf, P. L. Richards, M. Tanaka

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17 Scopus citations


We have measured the surface brightness of the far-infrared sky at λ = 134, 154, and 186 μm at high Galactic latitude using a liquid-He-cooled, rocket-borne telescope. The telescope scanned over a 5° × 20° region which includes infrared cirrus, high-latitude molecular clouds, the starburst galaxy M82, and the H I Hole in Ursa Major, a region with uniquely low H I column density. The measured brightness at 134, 154, and 186 μm is well correlated with the 100 μm brightness measured by IRAS and, in regions excluding molecular clouds, with H I column density. The spectrum of the component correlated with H I is well fitted by a graybody spectrum with a temperature of 16.4(+2.3/-1.8) K, assuming an emissivity proportional to λ-2. Assuming a constant far-infrared dust emissivity per hydrogen nucleus, the ratio of the H2 column density to the velocity-integrated CO intensity in the high-latitude molecular cloud is N(H2)/WCO = (1.6 ± 0.3) × 1020 cm-2 (K km s-1)-1. The residual brightness after subtracting the emission correlated with H I column density is λIλ(154 μm) = (1.4 ± 0.6) × 10-12 W cm-2 sr-1, yielding an upper limit to the far-infrared extragalactic background radiation of λIλ(154 μm) < 2.6 × 10-12 W cm-2 sr-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L89-L92
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Apr 20 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Dust, extinction
  • ISM: clouds
  • Infrared: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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