Context. Herschel has revolutionized our ability to measure column densities (NH) and temperatures (T) of molecular clouds thanks to its far infrared multiwavelength coverage. However, the lack of a well defined background intensity level in the Herschel data limits the accuracy of the NH and T maps.
Aims: We aim to provide a method that corrects the missing Herschel background intensity levels using the Planck model for foreground Galactic thermal dust emission. For the Herschel/PACS data, both the constant-offset as well as the spatial dependence of the missing background must be addressed. For the Herschel/SPIRE data, the constant-offset correction has already been applied to the archival data so we are primarily concerned with the spatial dependence, which is most important at 250 μm.
Methods: We present a Fourier method that combines the publicly available Planck model on large angular scales with the Herschel images on smaller angular scales.
Results: We have applied our method to two regions spanning a range of Galactic environments: Perseus and the Galactic plane region around l = 11deg (HiGal-11). We post-processed the combined dust continuum emission images to generate column density and temperature maps. We compared these to previously adopted constant-offset corrections. We find significant differences (≳20%) over significant ( 15%) areas of the maps, at low column densities (NH ≲ 1022 cm-2) and relatively high temperatures (T ≳ 20 K). We have also applied our method to synthetic observations of a simulated molecular cloud to validate our method.
Conclusions: Our method successfully corrects the Herschel images, including both the constant-offset intensity level and the scale-dependent background variations measured by Planck. Our method improves the previous constant-offset corrections, which did not account for variations in the background emission levels.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- August 2017
- submillimeter: ISM;
- infrared: ISM;
- techniques: image processing;
- ISM: structure;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- Paper accepted for publications in A&