Possible application of circular polarization for remote sensing of cosmic bodies
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Phase dependences of circular polarization were obtained with a precision Stokes polarimeter designed and constructed at the Main Astronomical Observatory of AS Ukraine. A study was made of dielectric and metallic powders with grains of diameter 10–100 Μm. Metallic powders were found to produce an essential circular polarization - up to 3%, just as dielectric powders did not show circular polarization values more than 0.05% Change of circular polarization with phase angle V is greatly depended on surface structure. Loose powders give phase curves with the same sign of circular polarization everywhere and with maximum at large phase angles V > 120 ‡. Measurements of compacted powders show curves which change the sign repeatedly and have additional maxima, including a maximum at small phase angles V < 40 ‡. A theory was created which considers a circular polarization as a result of multiple reflections of light from particulate surface. The theory provides reasonable good fit to the experimental data. It was concluded that measurements of circular polarization can be used to find metals in surface material of cosmic bodies (especially asteroids) and to determine characteristics of surface structure, in particular, to establish presence of regolith on metal-rich bodies.
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