AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 133 Pulsars
Oral, Thursday, January 8, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, Regency VII

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[133.02] Optical phase-resolved polarimetry of PSR B0656+14

B. Kern, C. Martin, B. Mazin (CalTech), J.P. Halpern (Columbia Univ.)

We have observed optical pulsations in PSR B0656+14, binned into 10 phase bins. The pulse profile is double-peaked, and roughly symmetric about the radio pulse. There is no detectable unpulsed component, to a 1-sigma upper limit of 16%. We measured the linear polarization in the pulse profile, and find that the flux in the bridge of emission between the peaks is highly (100%) polarized, and is unpolarized during the rest of the pulse profile. This makes PSR B0656+14 the second pulsar, after the Crab, to have time-resolved polarization measurements. The optical emission has been interpreted in the context of the polar cap and the outer gap emission models. The position angle of the linearly polarized flux follows the fit to the Rotating Vector Model as determined by radio polarization data, which would be appropriate if the polar cap model describes the optical emission mechanism. The outer gap model can describe the phase of the optical peaks, but we have not determined the predicted polarization profiles under the outer gap model to compare to the observed polarization. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bdk@srl.caltech.edu

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