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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Practical Aspects of X-ray Imaging Polarimetry of Supernova Remnants and Other Extended Sources

by Jacco Vink 1,2,* and Ping Zhou 3,4
1
GRAPPA & Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
SRON, Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3
Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4
School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Galaxies 2018, 6(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies6020046
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Bright Future of Astronomical X-ray Polarimetry)
The new generation of X-ray polarisation detectors, the gas pixel detectors, which will be employed by the future space missions IXPE and eXTP, allows for spatially resolved X-ray polarisation studies. This will be of particular interest for X-ray synchrotron emission from extended sources like young supernova remnants and pulsar wind nebulae. Here we report on employing a polarisation statistic that can be used to makes maps in the Stokes I, Q, and U parameters, a method that we expand by correcting for the energy-dependent instrumental modulation factor, using optimal weighting of the signal. In order to explore the types of Stokes maps that can be obtained, we present a Monte Carlo simulation program called xpolim, with which different polarisation weighting schemes are explored. We illustrate its use with simulations of polarisation maps of young supernova remnants, after having described the general science case for polarisation studies of supernova remnants, and its connection to magnetic-field turbulence. We use xpolim simulations to show that in general deep, ~2 Ms observations are needed to recover polarisation signals, in particular for Cas A, for which in the polarisation fraction may be as low as 5%. View Full-Text
Keywords: X-rays; polarimetry; supernova remnants; cosmic ray; particle acceleration; magnetic-field turbulence; monte-carlo simulations; individual objects: Cas A, SN 1572, SN 1006 X-rays; polarimetry; supernova remnants; cosmic ray; particle acceleration; magnetic-field turbulence; monte-carlo simulations; individual objects: Cas A, SN 1572, SN 1006
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Vink, J.; Zhou, P. Practical Aspects of X-ray Imaging Polarimetry of Supernova Remnants and Other Extended Sources. Galaxies 2018, 6, 46.

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