We report the first measurement of the zodiacal light (ZL) polarization spectrum in the near-infrared between 0.8 and 1.8 μm. Using the low-resolution spectrometer on board the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, calibrated for absolute spectrophotometry and spectropolarimetry, we acquire long-slit polarization spectral images of the total diffuse sky brightness toward five fields. To extract the ZL spectrum, we subtract the contribution of other diffuse radiation, such as the diffuse galactic light, the integrated starlight, and the extragalactic background light. The measured ZL polarization spectrum shows little wavelength dependence in the near-infrared, and the degree of polarization clearly varies as a function of the ecliptic coordinates and solar elongation. Among the observed fields, the North Ecliptic Pole shows the maximum degree of polarization of ~20%, which is consistent with an earlier observation from the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment on board on the Cosmic Background Explorer. The measured degree of polarization and its solar elongation dependence are reproduced by an empirical scattering model in the visible band and also by a Mie scattering model for large absorptive particles, while a Rayleigh scattering model is ruled out. All of our results suggest that the interplanetary dust is dominated by large particles.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2022
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 15 pages, 15 figures, accepted by ApJ