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14 February 2003 Resolving polarized stellar features thanks to polarimetric interferometry
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Abstract
Polarimetry is a powerful means for detecting and constraining various physical phenomena, such as scattering processes or magnetic fields, occuring in a large panel of stellar objects: extended atmospheres of hot stars, CP stars, Young Stellar Objects, Active Galaxy Nuclei, ... However, the lack of angular resolution is generally a strong handicap to drastically constrain the physical parameters and the geometry of the polarizing phenomena because of the cancelling of the polarized signal. In fact, even if stellar features are strongly polarized, the (spectro-)polarimetric signal integrated over the stellar surface rarely exceeds few percents. Coupling polarimetric and interferometric devices allows to resolve these local polarized structures and thus to constrain complex patchy stellar surfaces and/or environments such as disk topology in T Tauri stars, hot stars radiative winds or oscillations in Be star envelopes. In this article, we explain how interfero-polarimetric observables, basically the contrast and the position of the interference fringe patterns versus polarization (and even versus wavelength) are powerful to address the above scientific drivers and we emphasize on the key point of instrumental and data calibrations: since interferometric measurements are differential ones between 2 or more beams, this strongly relaxes the calibration requirements for the fringe phase observable. Prospects induced by the operation of the optical aperture synthesis arrays are also discussed.
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Karine Rousselet-Perraut, Olivier Chesneau, Farrokh Vakili, Denis Mourard, Sebastien Janel, Laurent Lavaud, and Axel Crocherie "Resolving polarized stellar features thanks to polarimetric interferometry", Proc. SPIE 4843, Polarimetry in Astronomy, (14 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.458858; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.458858
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