Open Access

IRTS observation of the mid-infrared spectrum of the zodiacal emission

  • T. Ootsubo1Email author,
  • T. Onaka1,
  • I. Yamamura1, 5,
  • T. Tanabé2,
  • T. L. Roellig3,
  • K. -W. Chan3 and
  • T. Matsumoto4
Earth, Planets and Space201450:BF03352142

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352142

Received: 8 October 1997

Accepted: 21 February 1998

Published: 6 June 2014


We present the mid-infrared spectrum (3–12 μm) of the zodiacal emission obtained by the Infrared Telescope in Space (IRTS), the first Japanese cryogenically cooled orbital infrared telescope. The Near-Infrared Spectrometer (NIRS) on board IRTS provided the spectrum of 3–4 μm, while that of 4.5–11.7 μm has been observed by the Mid-Infrared Spectrometer (MIRS). In this paper we present the data reduction and results of the observations by MIRS. Spectra of the background emission at high galactic latitudes (¦b¦ > 30°) have been extracted from the MIRS observations by excluding point sources. The observed sky brightness has a clear dependence on the ecliptic latitude, indicating that the zodiacal emission dominates in the mid-infrared sky brightness. On the other hand, the spectral shape does not show any appreciable dependence on the ecliptic latitude for ß = 0°–75°. The spectrum combining the NIRS and MIRS observations can be fitted by a grey body radiation at 250 K, but excess emission is seen in the 3–6 μm range. Alternatively, the spectrum of the zodiacal emission can be reproduced fairly well by a grey body at 280 K with an excess around 10 μm. In this case the excess may be attributed to a silicate emission band. Other than these excesses, no spectral features above the 10% level are seen in the MIRS spectrum.