The cosmic far-infrared background buildup since redshift 2 at 70 and 160 microns in the COSMOS and GOODS fields

M. Jauzac, H. Dole, E. Le Floc'h, H. Aussel, K. Caputi, O. Ilbert, M. Salvato, N. Bavouzet, A. Beelen, M. Bethermin, J. -P. Kneib, G. Lagache, J. -L. Puget

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context. The cosmic far-infrared background (CIB) at wavelengths around 160 mu m corresponds to the peak intensity of the whole extragalactic background light, which is being measured with increasing accuracy. However, the build up of the CIB emission as a function of redshift is still not well known.

Aims. Our goal is to measure the CIB history at 70 mu m and 160 mu m at different redshifts, and provide constraints for infrared galaxy evolution models.

Methods. We used deep Spitzer 24 mu m catalogs complete to about 80 mu Jy with spectroscopic and photometric redshift identifications, derived using the GOODS and COSMOS deep infrared surveys covering 2 square degrees total. After cleaning the Spitzer/MIPS 70 mu m and 160 mu m maps of detected sources, we stacked the far-IR images at the positions of the 24 mu m sources in different redshift bins. We measured the contribution of each stacked source to the total 70 and 160 mu m light, and compared with model predictions and far-IR measurements obtained for Herschel/PACS data of smaller fields.

Results. We detect components of the 70 and 160 mu m backgrounds in different redshift bins up to z similar to 2. The contribution to the CIB reaches a maximum at 0.3 <= z <= 0.9 at 160 mu m (and z <= 0.5 at 70 mu m). A total of 81% (74%) of the 70 (160) mu m background was emitted at z < 1. We estimate that the AGN contribution to the far-IR CIB is less than about 10% at z < 1.5. We provide a comprehensive view of the CIB buildup at 24, 70, 100 and 160 mu m.

Conclusions. We find that IR galaxy models predicting a major contribution to the CIB from sources at z < 1 agree with our measurements, while our results exclude other models that predict a peak of the background at higher redshifts. The consistency of our results with those obtained by the direct study of Herschel far-IR data at 160 mu m confirms that the stacking analysis method is a valid approach to estimate the components of the far-IR background using prior information about resolved mid-IR sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA52
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages11
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • cosmology: observations
  • diffuse radiation
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: starburst
  • galaxies: active
  • infrared: diffuse background


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