Characterisation of the CAFOS linear spectropolarimeter
Abstract
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 halfwave 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 halfwave plate causes a peaktopeak 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 halfwave plate angles CAFOS can reach an rms linear polarization accuracy of about 0.1%.
Based on observations collected at the GermanSpanish Astronomical Center, Calar Alto, jointly operated by the MaxPlanckInstitut für Astronomie Heidelberg and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia (CSIC).
 Publication:

Astronomy and Astrophysics
 Pub Date:
 May 2011
 DOI:
 10.1051/00046361/201116566
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1102.4447
 Bibcode:
 2011A&A...529A..57P
 Keywords:

 techniques: polarimetric;
 instrumentation: polarimeters;
 Astrophysics  Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 5 pages, 5 figures, Accepted for publication in A&