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Proceedings Paper

Measuring x-ray polarization in the presence of systematic effects: known background
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Paper Abstract

The prospects for accomplishing x-ray polarization measurements of astronomical sources have grown in recent years, after a hiatus of more than 37 years. Unfortunately, accompanying this long hiatus has been some confusion over the statistical uncertainties associated with x-ray polarization measurements of these sources. We have initiated a program to perform the detailed calculations that will offer insights into the uncertainties associated with x-ray polarization measurements. Here we describe a mathematical formalism for determining the 1- and 2-parameter errors in the magnitude and position angle of x-ray (linear) polarization in the presence of a (polarized or unpolarized) background. We further review relevant statistics—including clearly distinguishing between the Minimum Detectable Polarization (MDP) and the accuracy of a polarization measurement.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 September 2012
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8443, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 84434N (17 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924889
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald F. Elsner, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen L. O'Dell, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Martin C. Weisskopf, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8443:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Tadayuki Takahashi; Stephen S. Murray; Jan-Willem A. den Herder, Editor(s)

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