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29 July 2010 On understanding the figures of merit for detection and measurement of x-ray polarization
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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.
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Martin C. Weisskopf, Ronald F. Elsner, and Stephen L. O'Dell "On understanding the figures of merit for detection and measurement of x-ray polarization", Proc. SPIE 7732, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 77320E (29 July 2010); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.857357
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