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The Extragalactic Background Light (EBL) at UV, optical and NIR wavelengths consists of the integrated light of all unresolved galaxies along the line of sight plus any contributions by intergalactic matter including hypothetical decaying relic particles. The measurement of the EBL has turned out to be a tedious problem. This is because of the foreground components of the night sky brightness, much larger than the EBL itself: the Zodiacal Light (ZL), Integrated Starlight (ISL), Diffuse Galactic Light (DGL) and, for ground-based observations, the Airglow (AGL) and the tropospheric scattered light. We have been developing a method for the EBL measurement which utilises the screening effect of a dark nebula on the EBL. A differential measurement in the direction of a high-latitude dark nebula and its surrounding area provides a signal that is due to two components only, i.e. the EBL and the diffusely scattered ISL from the cloud. We present a progress report of this method where we are now utilising intermediate resolution spectroscopy with ESO's VLT telescope. We detect and remove the scattered ISL component by using its characteristic Fraunhofer line spectral signature. In contrast to the ISL, in the EBL spectrum all spectral lines are washed out. We present a high quality spectrum representing the difference between an opaque position within our target cloud and several clear OFF positions around the cloud. We derive a preliminary EBL value at 400 nm and an upper limit to the EBL at 520 nm. These values are in the same range as the EBL lower limits derived from galaxy counts.
Unit: We will use in this paper the abbreviation 1 cgs = 10−9erg s−1cm−2sr−1Å−1
We have taken N-band spectra of the nuclear dust regions of NGC 1068 with the newly commissioned Mid-InfrareD-Interferometer (MIDI), with a spatial resolution of ∼10 milliarcsec (∼1 pc). We resolve the near-nuclear emission into a warm component (∼300 K) 2.1×3.4 pc in size and a smaller hot component. We see a strong silicate absorption in front of the central component that differs in form from normal olivine-type profiles. This thick dust structure cannot be supported for the length of the active phase of the AGN by gas pressure or turbulent motions.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html
VLTI - the infrared interferometer integrated into the VLT complex on Paranal - is approaching operation as part of the scientific instrumentation of the VLTs, with the first call for proposals out for the observing period starting in spring 2004. Two first generation scientific instruments will become available: AMBER, working in the near-infrared and combining up to three telescope beams is scheduled to see first fringes and have commisioning early in 2004. MIDI, working in the 10 μm band and combining two telescope beams, already is working in its basic observing mode. This contribution concentrates on a brief description of the latter instrument and the preliminary first scientific results obtained with it.
Infrared companions are young stellar objects with unusual properties gravitationally bound to more or less typical T Tauri stars. As such they promise to be the source of information on either a particular phase in the development of young stars or on a particular mode of development. We discuss the observed properties of infrared companions as well as attempts to explain their physical status with the aim to see how much of solid conclusion has been obtained so far.
Because the division consists of many very active commissions, most activities are included in the reports of the individual commissions. This report highlights a small subset of the major achievements that are covered in detail in the reports by the commissions. Some administrative activities of the division and reports of the divisional working groups and committees are also included as subsequent sections of this divisional report.
The light of the night sky is a difficult to disentangle mixture of tropospherically scattered light, airglow, zodiacal light (including the thermal emission by interplanetary dust particles), unresolved stellar light, diffuse scattering and emission by interstellar dust and gas, and finally an extragalactic component. It has the reputation of being a very traditional field of astronomy, which certainly is true if we look at the long history of the subject. The recent renewed interest in this topic, which continued during this triennium, appears mainly to come from three sources: - first from the impressive results of the IRAS and COBE infrared satellites. They brought to general consciousness the fact that the infrared sky is characterised by strong emission from interplanetary and interstellar dust, and made clear that this emission may interfere with the study of faint interesting sources. - then from the development of sensitive detectors and arrays for essentially all of the wavelength range to be covered in this report, from the Lyman limit to ≈ 300 μm. Now the difficult measurements of the ultraviolet diffuse radiation and of the extragalactic background light in the infrared cosmological windows around 3 μm and 200 μm have become feasible and state of the art projects. - finally, the threat to astronomical observations arising from man-made development and lighting has become important enough to further studies of uncontaminated and contaminated night sky brightnesses. This report will refer mainly to those areas and is meant to highlight noteworthy developments. It was prepared with the help of Drs. Bowyer and Mattila.
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