|Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 2001. 39:
Copyright © 2001 by . All rights reserved
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Abstract. The cosmic infrared background records much of the radiant energy released by processes of structure formation that have occurred since the decoupling of matter and radiation following the Big Bang. In the past few years, data from the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission provided the first measurements of this background, with additional constraints coming from studies of the attenuation of TeV -rays. At the same time, there has been rapid progress in resolving a significant fraction of this background with the deep galaxy counts at infrared wavelengths from the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) instruments and at submillimeter wavelengths from the Submillimeter Common User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) instrument. This article reviews the measurements of the infrared background and sources contributing to it and discusses the implications for past and present cosmic processes.
KEY WORDS: extragalactic background light, cosmology, COBE, galaxy evolution, cosmic chemical evolution, background fluctuations, TeV -rays, integrated galaxy light.
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