Department Colloquium: Tuesday May 16, 2023 - Deeper Astrophysics with Polarimetry

Event Date: 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 3:45pm
  • Physics Department Colloquium

This event will be in-person and on Zoom.


Deeper Astrophysics with Polarimetry

Sloane Wiktorowicz, The Aerospace Corporation


Characterization of gaseous and terrestrial exoplanets benefits greatly from study of similar objects in the solar system. Here, polarimetry has made important contributions that may be leveraged to enhance the science return from the future study of directly imaged exoplanets with 30-m class telescopes. Specifically, polarimetry of atmospheres such as Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, and Venus show that Rayleigh scattering may be disentangled from scattering by photochemical hazes and cloud droplets. Polarimetry of airless bodies in the solar system shows that rocky surfaces provide a signature different from those of atmospheric signatures. Furthermore, albedo features, surface composition, and even the presence of surface metals may be detected from a combination of linear and circular polarization. This talk will outline contributions to planetary science made by polarimetry as well as discoveries made by our unique POLISH2 polarimeter in the realms of planetary science, extrasolar planetary science, and astrophysics in general.