, Volume 239, Issue 2, pp 259-274

A novel quadruple beam imaging polarimeter and its application to Comet Tanaka-Machholz 1992 X

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For observations of solar system objects an imaging polarimeter has been constructed as an auxiliary instrument for a f/15 focal reducer. With this instrument simultaneous measurement of theQ andU Stokes parameters is possible. It contains no moving parts such as a moving λ/2 retarder. The polarizer consists of two Wollaston prisms which are combined to form a single optical element. Their polarization angles differ by 45°. This compound polarizer is placed in the exit pupil of the afocal telescope-collimator system of the focal reducer and splits the exit pupil into halves. In this way four polarized beams with E-vector orientations 0°, 90°, 45°, and 135° emerge from the exit pupil. These are intercepted by the camera lens of the focal reducer system and imaged simultaneously on the CCD detector. With a properly designed field mask at the Cassegrain focus, the four beams are imaged without overlap.

As a demonstration of the capabilities of this quadruple-beam Wollaston-prism polarimeter, we present observations of comet Tanaka-Machholz 1992 X in May 1992. The advantages, shortcomings, and possible improvements of the instrument are discussed.

based on observations obtained at Hoher List Observatory
presently at Astronomical Observatory of Khar'kiv University, Sumskaya Street 35, 310022 Khar'kiv, Ukraine