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9 April 2019 Dual-beam optical linear polarimetry from Southern skies: characterization of CasPol for high-precision polarimetry
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Abstract
We present a characterization of CasPol, a dual-beam polarimeter mounted at the 2.15-m Jorge Sahade Telescope, located at the Complejo Astronómico El Leoncito, Argentina. The telescope is one of the few available meter-sized optical telescopes located in the southern hemisphere hosting a polarimeter. To carry out this work, we collected photopolarimetric data along five observing campaigns, the first one during January 2014, and the remaining ones spread between August 2017 and March 2018. The data were taken through the Johnson–Cousins V, R, and I filters. Along the campaigns, we observed eight unpolarized and four polarized standard stars. Our analysis began characterizing the impact of seeing and aperture into the polarimetric measurements, defining an optimum aperture extraction and setting a clear limit for seeing conditions. Then, we used the unpolarized standard stars to characterize the level of instrumental polarization and to assess the presence of polarization dependent on the position across the charge-coupled device. Polarized standard stars were investigated to quantify the stability of the instrument with wavelength. Specifically, we find that the overall instrumental polarization of CasPol is ∼0.2  %   in the V, R, and I bands, with a negligible polarization dependence on the position of the stars on the detector. The stability of the half-wave plate retarder is about 0.35 deg, making CasPol comparable to already existing instruments. We also provide measurements in the three photometric bands for both the unpolarized and polarized standard stars. Finally, we show scientific results, illustrating the capabilities of CasPol for precision polarimetry of relatively faint objects.
© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) 2329-4124/2019/$25.00 © 2019 SPIE
Marina Sosa, Carolina Von Essen, Ileana Andruchow, Sergio A. Cellone, and Luis A. Mammana "Dual-beam optical linear polarimetry from Southern skies: characterization of CasPol for high-precision polarimetry," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 5(2), 028002 (9 April 2019). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JATIS.5.2.028002
Received: 9 August 2018; Accepted: 18 March 2019; Published: 9 April 2019
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