Light of the Night Sky / Lumière Du Ciel Nocturne
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.
KeywordsInterstellar Dust Interplanetary Dust Zodiacal Light Interplanetary Dust Particle Extragalactic Background Light
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