Volume 529, May 2011
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Published online||01 April 2011|
Characterisation of the CAFOS linear spectropolarimeter⋆
1 European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748, Garching b. München, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85741 Garching b. München, Germany
Received: 24 January 2011
Accepted: 9 February 2011
Aims. We present a full analysis of the CAFOS polarimeter mounted at the Calar Alto 2.2 m telescope. This provides future users of this mode with all necessary information to properly correct for instrumental effects in polarization data obtained with this instrument.
Methods. The standard stars BD+59d389 (polarized) and HD 14069 (unpolarized) were observed with CAFOS in November, 2010, using 16 half-wave plate angles. The linear spectropolarimetric properties of CAFOS were studied using a Fourier analysis of the resulting data.
Results. CAFOS shows a roughly constant instrumental polarization at the level of ~0.3% between 4000 Å and 8600 Å. Below 4000 Å, the spurious polarization grows to reach ~0.7% at 3600 Å. This instrumental effect is most likely produced by the telescope optics, and appears to be additive. The Wollaston prism clearly operates less than ideally. However, the problem is largely removed by using at least four retarder plate angles. The chromatism of the half-wave plate causes a peak-to-peak oscillation of ~11 degrees in the polarization angle. This can be effectively corrected using the tabulated values presented in this paper. The Fourier analysis shows that the k ≠ 0,4 harmonics are practically negligible between 3800 and 7400 Å.
Conclusions. After correcting for instrumental polarization and retarder plate chromatism, with four half-wave plate angles CAFOS can reach an rms linear polarization accuracy of about 0.1%.
Key words: techniques: polarimetric / instrumentation: polarimeters
© ESO, 2011
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