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Session 66 - Astrophysical Diagnostics from Polarimetry.
Oral session, Wednesday, June 12

[66.01] A Non-Polarimetrist's Cookbook for Interpreting Polarimetric Observations

K. H. Nordsieck (U. Wisconsin)

The last ten years has seen an explosion in the available techniques of astronomical polarimetry, with imaging polarimeters and spectropolarimeters becoming more common and the wavelength range expanding from the visible and radio into the vacuum ultraviolet and the thermal infrared. What is the non-specialist to make of the newly available data- what does it mean? As the volume of data on all varieties of astronomical objects has expanded, common signatures are emerging. In this talk I will attempt to illustrate briefly some of these signatures with recent results which will be enlarged upon in other papers in this session. Some of these are variability signatures from filter polarimetry, geometry of the interstellar magnetic field and of dust reflection nebulae from imaging polarimetry, and spectropolarimetric signatures of interstellar dust, "hidden sources" seen by reflection, electron scattering, photospheric scattering, bipolar nebulae, and magnetic fields.

Astronomical polarimetry at the University of Wisconsin is supported by NASA contracts NAS5-26777 and NAG5-647.

Program listing for Wednesday