A far-infrared survey at the North Galactic Pole - I. Nearby star-forming galaxies and effect of confused sources on source counts
Väisänen, Petri H.
Kotilainen, Jari K.
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We present follow-up observations of the far-infrared (FIR) sources at 90, 150 and 180 μm detected as part of the ISOPHOT EBL project, which has recently measured the absolute surface brightness of the cosmic infrared background (CIRB) radiation for the first time independently from COBE data. We have observed the fields at the North Galactic Pole region in the optical and near-IR, and complement these data with Sloan Digital Sky Survey photometry, and spectroscopy where available, and present identifications of the 25 FIR sources which reach down to ∼150 mJy in all three ISOPHOT bands. Identifications are done by means of full spectral energy density fitting to all sources in the FIR error circle areas. Approximately 80 per cent are identified as star-forming or star-bursting galaxies at z < 0.3. We also find that more than half of the counterparts have disturbed morphologies, with signs of past or present interactions. However, only 20 per cent of all the sources are uniquely matched with a single galaxy -40 per cent are blends of two or more of these nearby star-forming galaxies, while another 20 per cent are likely blends of nearby and fainter galaxies. The final 20 per cent are likely to be more luminous IR galaxies at higher redshifts. The blended sources have an effect on the FIR source counts. In particular, taking into account realistic confusion or blending of sources, the differential FIR counts move down by a factor of ∼1.5 and steepen in the 100 to 400 mJy range.