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Proceedings Paper

Instrumentation for high-resolution spectropolarimetry in the visible and far-ultraviolet
Author(s): Kenneth H. Nordsieck; Kurt P. Jaehnig; Eric B. Burgh; Henry A. Kobulnicky; Jeffrey W. Percival; Michael P. Smith
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Paper Abstract

Linear spectropolarimetry of spectral lines is a neglected field in astronomy, largely because of the lack of instrumentation. Techniques that have been applied, but rarely, include investigation of the dynamics of scattering envelopes through the polarization of electron- or dust-scattered nebular light. Untried techniques include promising new magnetic diagnostics like the Hanle Effect in the far-ultraviolet and magnetic realignment in the visible. The University of Wisconsin Space Astronomy Lab is developing instrumentation for such investigations. In the visible, the Prime Focus Imaging Spectrograph (PFIS) is a first light instrument for the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), which at an aperture of 11m will be the largest single telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. Scheduled for commissioning in late 2004, PFIS is a versatile high-throughput imaging spectrograph using volume-phase holographic gratings for spectroscopic programs from 320nm to 900nm at resolutions of R=500 to R=6000. A dual-etalon Fabry-Perot subsystem enables imaging spectroscopy at R=500 and R=3000 or 12,500. The polarization subsystem, consisting of a very large calcite polarizing beam-splitter used in conjunction with half- and quarter-wave Pancharatnam superachromatic plates, allow linear or circular polarimetric measurements in any of the spectroscopic modes. In the FUV, the Far-Ultraviolet SpectroPolarimeter (FUSP) is a sounding rocket payload, scheduled for its first flight in 2003, that will obtain the first high-precision spectropolarimetry from 105 - 150 nm, and the first astronomical polarimetry of any kind below 130 nm. The 50 cm primary mirror of the telescope is F/2.5. At the prime focus are the polarimetric optics, a stressed lithium fluoride rotating waveplate, followed by a synthetic diamond Brewster-angle mirror. The spectrometer uses an aberration-corrected spherical holographic grating and a UV-sensitized CCD detector, for a spectral resolution of R=1800.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 February 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4843, Polarimetry in Astronomy, (14 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.459288
Show Author Affiliations
Kenneth H. Nordsieck, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)
Kurt P. Jaehnig, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)
Eric B. Burgh, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)
Henry A. Kobulnicky, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)
Jeffrey W. Percival, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)
Michael P. Smith, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4843:
Polarimetry in Astronomy
Silvano Fineschi, Editor(s)

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