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Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.
We present the spatially-resolved polarization measurements for the disk around the Herbig Ae star, AB Aurigae. The images were obtained in J, H, and Ks bands with the coronagraphic camera HiCIAO on the Subaru Telescope. The inner region beyond 30 AU from the star was imaged, which reveals an azimuthal dip, a radial gap at around 80 AU, and complex spiral-like emission in polarized light.
Early results from the SAGE-SMC (Surveying the Agents of Galaxy Evolution in the tidally-disrupted, low-metallicity Small Magellanic Cloud) Spitzer legacy program are presented. These early results concentrate on the SAGE-SMC MIPS observations of the SMC Tail region. This region is the high H i column density portion of the Magellanic Bridge adjacent to the SMC Wing. We detect infrared dust emission and measure the gas-to-dust ratio in the SMC Tail and find it similar to that of the SMC Body. In addition, we find two embedded cluster regions that are resolved into multiple sources at all MIPS wavelengths.
We report the results of mid- to far-infrared spectroscopic
observations of Galactic star-forming regions with ISO, Spitzer, and
AKARI. Owing to the high sensitivity of the IRS onboard Spitzer, we
detected [Si II] 35 μm, [Fe II] 26 μm, and [Fe III] 23 μm lines widely
in low-density star-forming regions, and derived gas-phase Si and Fe
abundances as 3–100% and <22%, respectively. With the FTS
onboard AKARI, we obtained the spatial distribution of
the [O III] 88 μm emission in two star-forming regions.
The AKARI (formerly known as ASTRO-F) mission is the first Japanese satellite dedicated for large area surveys in the infrared (Murakami et al. 2004). AKARI was launched successfully on February 22nd 2006 (JST) from JAXA's Uchinoura Space Centre, Japan. AKARI is now orbiting around the Earth in a Sun-synchronous polar orbit at the altitude of 700 km. The 68.5 cm aperture telescope and scientific instruments are cooled to 6K by liquid Helium and mechanical coolers. The expected liquid Helium holding time is now found to be at least one year after the successful aperture lid-opening on 2006 April 13th (JST). AKARI will perform the most advanced all-sky survey in 6 mid- to far-infrared wavebands since the preceding IRAS mission over 2 decades ago. Deep imaging and spectroscopic surveys near the ecliptic poles with pointed observations are also on-going in 13 wavelength bands at 2-160 μm (see Table 1, details are given in Matsuhara et al. 2006). AKARI is a perfect complement to Spitzer in respect of its wide sky area and wavelength coverage. Two unique aspects of the pointing deep surveys with AKARI are: many imaging bands including the wavelength gap of Spitzer (8-24 μm), and the slitless spectroscopic capability (Ohyama et al. in this proceeding). Not only the All-Sky Survey but also the deep pointing surveys near the ecliptic poles over ~15 deg2 in total will be particularly well suited to construct the luminosity functions of the infrared galaxies, to evaluate their clustering nature, and also to discover rare, exotic objects at various redshifts out to z ~ 3. AKARI is also capable of detecting and measuring the spectrum and the fluctuations of the cosmic infrared background. The in-orbit sensitivity and spatial resolution of the surveys are found to be sufficient to achive the scientific goals listed above.
The FIRBE (Far-Infrared Balloon-Borne Experiment) pro ject is focused on mapping of the far-infrared emission from the Galaxy and external galaxies with the same spatial resolution as that of the IRAS.
Two dimensional array on a low emissivity telescope is a powerful facility for wide-area survey.
The results of FIR spectroscopic mapping observations of the Carina and
Sharpless 171 regions
with ISO/LWS and SWS are presented. Quite strong [SiII]35 μm emission
has been detected in
both regions. It is well correlated with [NII]122 μm emission,
indicating that it originates mostly from
low-density ionized gas. The ratio of the lines shows that S+ gas
must be more than 35% of the
solar abundance in the ionized medium, suggesting clear observational evidence
for the dust destruction
in the interstellar medium. We have also found a small line ratio of
[OI]63 μm to 145 μm
lines (<10) in both regions. The observed large ratio as well as their
cannot be accounted for by standard PDR models, even if
taking account of the pumping by ultraviolet radiation. We propose
that [OI]63 μm line is absorbed
in the cold gas between the line emitting region and us.
The observability of hydrogen molecules in absorption was investigated for infrared lines against
bright infrared sources.
The absorption efficiency of the hydrogen molecules becomes comparable with or
larger than that of the dust grains in the metal-poor condition expected in
the early Universe. If we can use bright infrared continuum sources behind
the molecular gas clouds, the absorption measurement of the hydrogen molecules
will be an important technique to explore the primordial gas clouds that are
contracting into first-generation objects.
Infrared Imaging Surveyor (IRIS, officially Astro-F) is a satellite which will be launched in the winter of 2003. The main purpose of the IRIS mission is an all sky survey in the mid- and far-IR with a flux limit much deeper than that of IRAS. In order to examine the performance of the survey and to find a suitable set of bandpasses for tracing galaxy evolution and picking up protogalaxy candidates as effective as possible using IRIS, we estimated the FIR galaxy counts based on a simple model with various sets of cosmological parameters and evolution types.
An extensive survey of [C II] line emission at 158 microns using the balloon borne telescope (BICE) has provided a complete map of the emission intensity distribution in the first and the fourth quadrants of the galactic plane (280° < l < 80°, −5° < b < 5°: Okuda et al. 1993). The emission is very extended throughout the galactic plane in which three intensity maxima are seen towards the tangential directions of the Scutum and the Norma arms as well as in the Galactic center region. However the Galactic center maximum is much less prominent compared with the two other distributions, unlike the case of far infrared continuum and CO emissions.
An extensive survey of [CII] line emission has been made with a balloon-borne infrared telescope. It has been found that the emission is diffuse and ubiquitously distributed in general interstellar space.
Spectroscopic observations of CII line emission at 157.7 μm have been made of the Galactic Center region with a Fabry-Perot spectrometer onboard a balloon telescope. Strong emission has been detected ubiquitously in a wide area extending between ± 0.7° in galactic longitude. A ring-like structure is suggested from the double lobed distribution of the emission around the Galactic Center.
A cluster of luminous infrared sources has been found near the Galactic Center. It consists of five identical stars clustered in a compact volume, to be called an IR quintuplet. They are all highly reddened, strongly polarized and associated with deep absorptions of silicate band and CO vibration band. They seem to be a cluster of young stars newly born near the Galactic Center.
An infrared complex has been found in the radio arc region near the Galactic center. The complex consists of three sources that are close (< 10″) to each other, and are almost identical in every point of their characteristics; having the same energy spectrum and the same polarization. The observed polarizations are large; 5% at the K-band, and are parallel to the galactic plane. Both behaviors are compatible to those of the galactic center sources, suggesting that the sources are located near the galactic center. The energy spectra are very similar to each other, with large infrared excesses, peaking near the M-band. The luminosity of each source is estimated to be as high as 3-5x105 L⊙, after correcting for interstellar extinction assuming that they are located near the Galactic center; their luminosity is comparable to those of supergiant stars. By CVF spectrophotometry no CO-band absorption nor Brγ emission has been detected, thus no evidence for either M-supergiant nor OB supergiant has been obtained. On the other hand, the very close linear distances, 0.5 pc among each other, suggests their physical relationship, i.e., they should be very young objects, otherwise they would have been dispersed far apart.
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