HAO Colloquium - Wenxian Li, HAO

Experimental testing of scattering polarization models

We realized a laboratory experiment to study the polarization of the Na I doublet at 589.3 nm, in the presence of a magnetic field. The purpose of the experiment is to test the theory of scattering polarization for illumination conditions typical of astrophysical plasmas. This work was stimulated by solar observations of the Na I doublet that have proven particularly challenging to reproduce with current models of polarized line formation, even casting doubts on our very understanding of the physics of scattering polarization on the Sun. The experiment has confirmed the fundamental correctness of the current theory, and demonstrated that the "enigmatic'' polarization of those observations is exclusively of solar origin.

Date and time: 
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm