The ability of NICMOS to perform high accuracy polarimetry is currently hampered by an uncalibrated residual instrumental polarization at a level of 1.2−1.5%. To better quantify and characterize this residual we obtained observations of three polarimetric standard stars at three separate space-craft roll angles. Combined with archival data, these observations were used to characterize the residual instrumental polarization to enable NICMOS to reach its full polarimetric potential. Using these data, we calculate values of the parallel transmission coefficients that reproduce the ground-based results for the polarimetric standards. The uncertainties associated with the parallel transmission coefficients, a result of the photometric repeatability of the observations, dominate the accuracy of p and θ. However, the new coefficients now enable imaging polarimetry of targets with p " 1.0% at an accuracy of ±0.6% and ±15°.
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Astronomical Polarimetry 2008: Science from Small to Large Telescopes ASP Conference Series, Vol. 4**, 2009
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