Astronomical Polarimetry

Overview

Radiation from astronomical objects generally shows some degree of polarization. Although this polarized radiation is usually only a small fraction of the total radiation, it often carries a wealth of information on the physical state and geometry of the emitting object and intervening material. Measurement of this polarized radiation is central to much modern astrophysical research. This handy volume provides a clear, comprehensive and concise introduction to astronomical polarimetry at all wavelengths. Starting...

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Overview

Radiation from astronomical objects generally shows some degree of polarization. Although this polarized radiation is usually only a small fraction of the total radiation, it often carries a wealth of information on the physical state and geometry of the emitting object and intervening material. Measurement of this polarized radiation is central to much modern astrophysical research. This handy volume provides a clear, comprehensive and concise introduction to astronomical polarimetry at all wavelengths. Starting from first principles and a simple physical picture of polarized radiation, the reader is introduced to all the key topics, including Stokes parameters, applications of polarimetry in astronomy, polarization algebra, polarization errors and calibration methods, and a selection of instruments (from radio to X-ray). The book is rounded off with a number of useful case studies, a collection of exercises, an extensive list of further reading and an informative index. This review of all aspects of astronomical polarization provides both an essential introduction for graduate students, and a valuable reference for practising astronomers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
' ... this is an excellent book of immense value to those working in polarimetry or developing instrumentation for astronomy.' Richard Bingham, Astronomy Now

'The book is full of good solid material and many explanations are to be found only in the references. This has kept the size, and cost, of the book modest, for which the author is to be congratulated. He has allowed his sense of humour to enliven the text in a number of places.' Roderick Willstrop, Measurement Science & Technology

'The book is produced to the high standard one expects from CUP, and is reasonably priced ... robust and attractive ... It will ... be hard to match the standard of this fine volume.' Ian Howarth, The Observatory

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521018586
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2005
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. A description of fully polarized radiation; 3. Polarization in astronomy; 4. Polarization algebra and graphical methods; 5. Instruments: principles; 6. Instruments: implementations; 7. Case studies; 8. Exercises; Index.

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