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Proceedings Paper

On understanding the figures of merit for detection and measurement of x-ray polarization
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Paper Abstract

The prospects for accomplishing X-ray polarization measurements appear to have grown in recent years after a more than 35-year hiatus. Unfortunately, this long hiatus has brought with it some confusion over the statistical uncertainties associated with polarization measurements of astronomical sources. The heart of this confusion stems from a misunderstanding (or potential misunderstanding) of a standard figure of merit-the minimum detectable polarization (MDP)-that one of us introduced many years ago. We review the relevant statistics, and quantify the differences between the MDP and the uncertainty of an actual polarization measurement. We discuss the implications for future missions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 July 2010
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 7732, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 77320E (29 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857357
Show Author Affiliations
Martin C. Weisskopf, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Ronald F. Elsner, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen L. O'Dell, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7732:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Monique Arnaud; Stephen S. Murray; Tadayuki Takahashi, Editor(s)

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