Journal Article

Optical polarization of the Crab pulsar: precision measurements and comparison to the radio emission

A. Słowikowska, G. Kanbach, M. Kramer and A. Stefanescu

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 397, issue 1, pages 103-123
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Optical polarization of the Crab pulsar: precision measurements and comparison to the radio emission

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The linear polarization of the Crab pulsar and its close environment was derived from observations with the high-speed photopolarimeter Optical Pulsar TIMing Analyser at the 2.56-m Nordic Optical Telescope in the optical spectral range (400–750 nm). Time resolution as short as 11 μs, which corresponds to a phase interval of 1/3000 of the pulsar rotation, and high statistics allow the derivation of polarization details never achieved before. The degree of optical polarization and the position angle correlate in surprising details with the light curves at optical wavelengths and at radio frequencies of 610 and 1400 MHz. Our observations show that there exists a subtle connection between presumed non-coherent (optical) and coherent (radio) emissions. This finding supports previously detected correlations between the optical intensity of the Crab and the occurrence of giant radio pulses. Interpretation of our observations requires more elaborate theoretical models than those currently available in the literature.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; instrumentation: polarimeters; techniques: polarimetric; pulsars: general; pulsars: individual: the Crab pulsar

Journal Article.  11426 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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