17 September 2012 Measuring x-ray polarization in the presence of systematic effects: known background
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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.
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Ronald F. Elsner, Stephen L. O'Dell, Martin C. Weisskopf, "Measuring x-ray polarization in the presence of systematic effects: known background", Proc. SPIE 8443, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 84434N (17 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924889; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.924889
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