Seven-year wilkinson microwave anisotropy probe (WMAP*) observations: Galactic foreground emission

B. Gold, N. Odegard, J. L. Weiland, R. S. Hill, A. Kogut, C. L. Bennett, G. Hinshaw, X. Chen, J. Dunkley, M. Halpern, N. Jarosik, E. Komatsu, D. Larson, M. Limon, S. S. Meyer, M. R. Nolta, L. Page, K. M. Smith, David N. Spergel, G. S. TuckerE. Wollack, E. L. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


We present updated estimates of Galactic foreground emission using seven years of WMAP data. Using the power spectrum of differences between multi-frequency template-cleaned maps, we find no evidence for foreground contamination outside of the updated (KQ85y7) foreground mask. We place a 15 μK upper bound on rms foreground contamination in the cleaned maps used for cosmological analysis. Further, the cleaning process requires only three power-law foregrounds outside of the mask. We find no evidence for polarized foregrounds beyond those from soft (steep-spectrum) synchrotron and thermal dust emission; in particular we find no indication in the polarization data of an extra "haze" of hard synchrotron emission from energetic electrons near the Galactic center. We provide an updated map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using the internal linear combination method, updated foreground masks, and updates to point source catalogs using two different techniques. With additional years of data, we now detect 471 point sources using a five-band technique and 417 sources using a three-band CMB-free technique. In total there are 62 newly detected point sources, a 12% increase over the five-year release. Also new are tests of the Markov chain Monte Carlo foreground fitting procedure against systematics in the time-stream data, and tests against the observed beam asymmetry. Within a few degrees of the Galactic plane, the behavior in total intensity of low-frequency foregrounds is complicated and not completely understood. WMAP data show a rapidly steepening spectrum from 20 to 40 GHz, which may be due to emission from spinning dust grains, steepening synchrotron, or other effects. Comparisons are made to a 1 deg 408 MHz map (Haslam et al.) and the 11 deg ARCADE 2 data (Singal et al.). We find that spinning dust or steepening synchrotron models fit the combination of WMAP and 408 MHz data equally well. ARCADE data appear inconsistent with the steepening synchrotron model and consistent with the spinning dust model, though some discrepancies remain regarding the relative strength of spinning dust emission. More high-resolution data in the 10-40 GHz range would shed much light on these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmic background radiation
  • Cosmology: observations
  • Diffuse radiation
  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: structure
  • ISM: structure


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