COBE DIRBE Near-Infrared Polarimetry of the Zodiacal Light: Initial Results

August 1994 • 1994ApJ...431L..63B

Authors • Berriman, G. B. • Boggess, N. W. • Hauser, M. G. • Kelsall, T. • Lisse, C. M. • Moseley, S. H. • Reach, W. T. • Silverberg, R. F.

Abstract • This Letter describes near-infrared polarimetry of the zodiacal light at 2.2 micrometers, measured with the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) aboard the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) spacecraft. The polarization is due to scattering of sunlight. The polarization vector is perpendicular to the scattering plane, and its observed amplitude on the ecliptic equator at an elongation of 90 deg and ecliptic longitude of 10 deg declines from 12.0 +/- 0.4% at 1.25 micrometers to 8.0 +/- 0.6% at 3.5 micrometers (cf. 16% in the visible); the principal source of uncertainty is photometric noise due to stars. The observed near-infrared colors at this location are redder than Solar, but at 3.5 micrometers this is due at least in part to the thermal emission contribution from the interplanetary dust. Mie theory calculations show that both polarizations and colors are important in constraining models of interplanetary dust.


IPAC Authors


Bruce Berriman

Senior Scientist