Noise Equivalent Power of Background Limited Thermal Detectors at Submillimeter Wavelengths

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With the advent of large submillimeter telescopes at high, dry sites, the atmospheric background noise in a moderate bandwidth can be low enough to challenge the ability of instrument designers to produce sufficiently low noise bolometers to be background limited. We compare the predictions for the noise power of a bolometer observing through an emissive atmosphere, considering the effect of atmospheric absorption, telescope optical efficiency, and detector optical efficiency, with measurements through the atmosphere over Mauna Kea.