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Published January 1, 1996 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Dust in the diffuse ISM as revealed by DIRBE observations


The weekly averaged DIRBE full sky images have been processed to separate the various components contributing to the total brightness in the various bands. The zodiacal emission, which dominates at 12 and 25 μm and the zodiacal dust scattering at λ<5 μm are both accounted for using an empirical fit to the data. The diffuse stellar emission which dominates at λ<5 μm is determined using the shortest DIRBE photometric bands at 1.25 and 2.2 μm and a standard NIR extinction law. Preliminary results based on the first release of the DIRBE data have been presented in Bernard et al. 1994. When the zodiacal light and stellar emission are subtracted, significant emission remains above 2.2 μm, which follows the general distribution of the dust emission as seen in the IRAS bands. The DIRBE images therefore allow to extend our knowledge of the dust emission spectrum below 12 μm and above 100 μm. In the L(3.5 μm) and M(4.9 μm) bands, the dust emission can be seen not only toward the galactic plane but also in diffuse regions above the plane as well as toward closeby molecular complexes (ρ‐Ophiuchi, Orion, Taurus,...). The existence of NIR dust emission in cold and diffuse regions strongly suggests transiently heated small dust particles as the carrier. The dust NIR spectrum is generally consistent with the dust model of Désert et al. 1990. In particular, the dust emission increases from 4.9 to 3.5 μm, which can be attributed to the contribution of the 3.3 μm emission feature of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH). Significant continuum emission, or other feature emission, is also required to explain the observed brightness in the L band and the AROME ballon experiment results at low galactic latitude.

Additional Information

© 1996 American Institute of Physics. Published online 01 January 1996. We are grateful to the Goddard Space Flight center team for their help in reducing the DIRBE data. This work was conducted in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under contract to NASA and supported in part under the LTSA program and a post-doctoral fellowship from the European Space Agency.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023