Time-dependent behavior of linear polarization in unresolved photospheres, with applications for the Hanle effect
Department of Physics & AstronomyEast Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614, USA
2 Department of Astronomy, 2535 Sterling Hall, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 53706-1582, USA
Received: 9 December 2010
Accepted: 18 March 2011
Aims. This paper extends previous studies in modeling time varying linear polarization due to axisymmetric magnetic fields in rotating stars. We use the Hanle effect to predict variations in net line polarization, and use geometric arguments to generalize these results to linear polarization due to other mechanisms.
Methods. Building on the work of Lopez Ariste et al. (2011, A&A, 527, A120), we use simple analytic models of rotating stars that are symmetric except for an axisymmetric magnetic field to predict the polarization lightcurve due to the Hanle effect. We highlight the effects for the variable line polarization as a function of viewing inclination and field axis obliquity. Finally, we use geometric arguments to generalize our results to linear polarization from the weak transverse Zeeman effect.
Results. We derive analytic expressions to demonstrate that the variable polarization lightcurve for an oblique magnetic rotator is symmetric. This holds for any axisymmetric field distribution and arbitrary viewing inclination to the rotation axis.
Conclusions. For the situation under consideration, the amplitude of the polarization variation is set by the Hanle effect, but the shape of the variation in polarization with phase depends largely on geometrical projection effects. Our work generalizes the applicability of results described in Lopez Ariste et al., inasmuch as the assumptions of a spherical star and an axisymmetric field are true, and provides a strategy for separating the effects of perspective from the Hanle effect itself for interpreting polarimetric lightcurves.
Key words: polarization / techniques: polarimetric / stars: magnetic field / stars: rotation / stars: solar-type
© ESO, 2011