The Q/U Imaging Experiment: Polarization Measurements of the Galactic Plane at 43 and 95 GHz

T M Ruud, U Fuskeland, I K Wehus, M Vidal, D Araujo, C Bischoff, I Buder, Y Chinone, K Cleary, R N Dumoulin, A Kusaka, R Monsalve, S K Næss, L B Newburgh, R A Reeves, J T L Zwart, L Bronfman, R D Davies, R Davis, C DickinsonH K Eriksen, T Gaier, J O Gundersen, M Hasegawa, M Hazumi, K M Huffenberger, M E Jones, C R Lawrence, E M Leitch, M Limon, A D Miller, T J Pearson, Lucio Piccirillo, S J E Radford, A C S Readhead, D Samtleben, M Seiffert, M C Shepherd, S T Staggs, O Tajima, K L Thompson, QUIET Collaboration

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    We present polarization observations of two Galactic plane fields centered on Galactic coordinates (l, b) = (0°, 0°) and (329°, 0°) at both Q (43 GHz) and W bands (95 GHz), covering between 301 and 539 square degrees depending on frequency and field. These measurements were made with the QUIET instrument between 2008 October and 2010 December, and include a total of 1263 hr of observations. The resulting maps represent the deepest large-area Galactic polarization observations published to date at the relevant frequencies with instrumental rms noise varying between 1.8 and 2.8 μK deg, 2.3-6 times deeper than corresponding WMAP and Planck maps. The angular resolution is 27.‧3 and 12.‧8 FWHM at Q and W bands, respectively. We find excellent agreement between the QUIET and WMAP maps over the entire fields, and no compelling evidence for significant residual instrumental systematic errors in either experiment, whereas the Planck 44 GHz map deviates from these in a manner consistent with reported systematic uncertainties for this channel. We combine QUIET and WMAP data to compute inverse-variance-weighted average maps, effectively retaining small angular scales from QUIET and large angular scales from WMAP. From these combined maps, we derive constraints on several important astrophysical quantities, including a robust detection of polarized synchrotron spectral index steepening of ≈0.2 off the plane, as well as the Faraday rotation measure toward the Galactic center (RM = -4000 ± 200 rad m-2), all of which are consistent with previously published results. Both the raw QUIET and the co-added QUIET+WMAP maps are made publicly available together with all necessary ancillary information.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • cosmic background radiation
    • cosmology: observations
    • Galaxy: center
    • Galaxy: general
    • polarization


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