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Interstellar cyanogen and the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation
Roth, Katherine C.; Meyer, David M.; Hawkins, Isabel
AA(Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL), AB(Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL), AC(California Univ., Berkeley)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 413, no. 2, p. L67-L71. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Cyanogen, Interstellar Matter, Molecular Clouds, Relic Radiation, Temperature Measurement, Diffuse Radiation, Molecular Rotation
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We present the results of a recently completed effort to determine the amount of CN rotational excitation in five diffuse interstellar clouds for the purpose of accurately measuring the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). In addition, we report a new detection of emission from the strongest hyperfine component of the 2.64 mm CN rotational transition (N = 1-0) in the direction toward HD 21483. We have used this result in combination with existing emission measurements toward our other stars to correct for local excitation effects within diffuse clouds which raise the measured CN rotational temperature above that of the CMBR. After making this correction, we find a weighted mean value of T(CMBR) = 2.729 (+0.023, -0.031) K. This temperature is in excellent agreement with the new COBE measurement of 2.726 +/- 0.010 K (Mather et al., 1993). Our result, which samples the CMBR far from the near-Earth environment, attests to the accuracy of the COBE measurement and reaffirms the cosmic nature of this background radiation. From the observed agreement between our CMBR temperature and the COBE result, we conclude that corrections for local CN excitation based on millimeter emission measurements provide an accurate adjustment to the measured rotational excitation.

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arXiv e-prints