Measurement of the Cosmic Optical Background using the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on New Horizons

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, April 17, 2017

Michael Zemcov, Poppy Immel, Chi Nguyen, Asantha Cooray, Carey M. Lisse, Andrew R. Poppe
(Submitted on 10 Apr 2017)

The cosmic optical background is an important observable that constrains energy production in stars and more exotic physical processes in the universe, and provides a crucial cosmological benchmark against which to judge theories of structure formation. Measurement of the absolute brightness of this background is complicated by local foregrounds like the Earth's atmosphere and sunlight reflected from local interplanetary dust, and large discrepancies in the inferred brightness of the optical background have resulted. Observations from probes far from the Earth are not affected by these bright foregrounds. Here we analyze data from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) instrument on NASA's New Horizons mission acquired during cruise phase outside the orbit of Jupiter, and find a statistical upper limit on the optical background's brightness similar to the integrated light from galaxies. We conclude that a carefully performed survey with LORRI could yield uncertainties comparable to those from galaxy counting measurements.

Comments:    35 pages, 11 figures, published in Nature Communications
Subjects:    Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
DOI:    10.1038/NCOMMS15003
Cite as:    arXiv:1704.02989 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1704.02989v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Michael Zemcov 
[v1] Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:00:09 GMT (3016kb,D)

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