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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

An Overview of X-Ray Polarimetry of Astronomical Sources

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), ST12, 320 Sparkman Drive, Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
Galaxies 2018, 6(1), 33;
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Bright Future of Astronomical X-ray Polarimetry)
We review the history of astronomical X-ray polarimetry based on the author’s perspective, beginning with early sounding-rocket experiments by Robert Novick at Columbia University and his team, of which the author was a member. After describing various early techniques for measuring X-ray polarization, we discuss the polarimeter aboard the Orbiting Solar Observatory 8 (OSO-8) and its scientific results. Next, we describe the X-ray polarimeter to have flown aboard the ill-fated original Spectrum-X mission, which provided important lessons on polarimeter design, systematic effects, and the programmatics of a shared focal plane. We conclude with a description of the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) and its prospective scientific return. IXPE, a partnership between NASA and ASI, has been selected as a NASA Astrophysics Small Explorers Mission and is currently scheduled to launch in April of 2021. View Full-Text
Keywords: X-ray astronomy; X-ray polarimetry; astrophysics X-ray astronomy; X-ray polarimetry; astrophysics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Weisskopf, M.C. An Overview of X-Ray Polarimetry of Astronomical Sources. Galaxies 2018, 6, 33.

AMA Style

Weisskopf MC. An Overview of X-Ray Polarimetry of Astronomical Sources. Galaxies. 2018; 6(1):33.

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Weisskopf, Martin C. 2018. "An Overview of X-Ray Polarimetry of Astronomical Sources" Galaxies 6, no. 1: 33.

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