Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 2001. 39: 249-307
Copyright © 2001 by . All rights reserved

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THE COSMIC INFRARED BACKGROUND: Measurements and Implications

Michael G. Hauser 1 and Eli Dwek 2


1 Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland 21218; e-mail: hauser@stsci.edu
2 Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics, Code 685, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771; e-mail: eli.dwek@gsfc.nasa.gov


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 gamma-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 gamma-rays, integrated galaxy light.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

HISTORICAL REVIEW

OBSERVATIONS
Measurement Challenges
Background Measurements from Rockets
Background Measurements from IRAS
Background Measurements from COBE
Background Measurements from IRTS
Fluctuation Analysis
CIB Limits from TeV -ray Observations
Integrated Light from Extragalactic Source Counts
UV-Optical Background Observations
Summary of Extragalactic Background Observations

COSMOLOGICAL AND ASTROPHYSICAL IMPLICATIONS
Total EBL Energy
Element Production and the Cosmic Star Formation Rate
The Radio-Infrared Background Connection
Interaction with High Energy -Rays
Limit on Intergalactic Dust

MODELS FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE CIB
The Contribution of AGN and Other Nonnuclear Sources to the CIB
The EBL Spectrum Expected From Nucleosynthesis

SUMMARY AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS

REFERENCES

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