Polarimetry as a tool for studying and understanding the physics of star forming environments is still in its infancy. However, polarimetric mapping and spectropolarimetry are rapidly coming into greater use as tools for studies of the circumstellar environments of pre-main-sequence stars and protostars. These techniques, especially as they are applied at higher spatial resolutions, have the potential to reveal a great deal about the processes taking place within these nebulae. Presently, the morphology of polarimetric maps can be used to identify sources, to diagnose probable kinematic activity, such as outflows and outflow orientations, and to isolate regions of high and low optical depth. Soon, it may be possible to use polarimetric data to measure density gradients and material properties of dust grains.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #188
- Pub Date:
- May 1996