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6 July 2018 WIRC+Pol: low-resolution near-infrared spectropolarimeter
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Abstract
WIRC+Pol is a newly commissioned low-resolution (R 100), near-infrared (J and H bands) spectropolarimetry mode of the Wide-field InfraRed Camera (WIRC) on the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. The instrument utilizes a novel polarimeter design based on a quarter-wave plate and a polarization grating (PG), which provides full linear polarization measurements (Stokes I, Q, and U ) in one exposure with no need for a polarimetric modulator. The PG also has high transmission across the J and H bands. The instrument is situated at the prime focus of an equatorially mounted telescope. As a result, the system only has one reflection in the light path and the instrument does not rotate with respect to the sky, which provides minimal and stable telescope induced polarization. A data reduction pipeline has been developed for WIRC+Pol to produce linear polarization measurements from observations, allowing, e.g., real-time monitoring of the signal-to-noise ratio of ongoing observations. WIRC+Pol has been on-sky since February 2017. Results from the first year commissioning data show that the instrument has a high dispersion efficiency as expected from the polarization grating. We discuss instrumental systematics we have uncovered in the data, their potential causes, along with calibrations that are necessary to eliminate them. We demonstrate the polarimetric stability of the instrument with RMS variation at 0.2% level over 30 minutes for a bright standard star (J = 8.7). While the spectral extraction is photon noise limited, polarization calibration between sources remain limited by systematics.
© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Samaporn Tinyanont, Maxwell Millar-Blanchaer, Ricky Nilsson, Dimitri Mawet, Heather Knutson, Tiffany Kataria, Gautam Vasisht, Charles Henderson, Keith Matthews, Eugene Serabyn, Jennifer W. Milburn, David Hale, Roger Smith, and Shreyas Vissapragada "WIRC+Pol: low-resolution near-infrared spectropolarimeter", Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 107023J (6 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2314161
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