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First Observation of the Submillimeter Polarization Spectrum in a Translucent Molecular Cloud

Ashton, Peter C. and Ade, Peter A. R. and Angilè, Francesco E. and Benton, Steven J. and Devlin, Mark J. and Dober, Bradley and Fissel, Laura M. and Fukui, Yasuo and Galitzki, Nicholas and Gandilo, Natalie N. and Klein, Jeffrey and Korotkov, Andrei L. and Li, Zhi-Yun and Martin, Peter G. and Matthews, Tristan G. and Moncelsi, Lorenzo and Nakamura, Fumitaka and Netterfield, Calvin B. and Novak, Giles and Pascale, Enzo and Poidevin, Frédérick and Santos, Fábio P. and Savini, Giorgio and Scott, Douglas and Shariff, Jamil A. and Soler, Juan D. and Thomas, Nicholas E. and Tucker, Carole E. and Tucker, Gregory S. and Ward-Thompson, Derek (2018) First Observation of the Submillimeter Polarization Spectrum in a Translucent Molecular Cloud. Astrophysical Journal, 857 (1). Art. No. 10. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aab3ca.

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Polarized emission from aligned dust is a crucial tool for studies of magnetism in the ISM, but a troublesome contaminant for studies of cosmic microwave background polarization. In each case, an understanding of the significance of the polarization signal requires well-calibrated physical models of dust grains. Despite decades of progress in theory and observation, polarized dust models remain largely underconstrained. During its 2012 flight, the balloon-borne telescope BLASTPol obtained simultaneous broadband polarimetric maps of a translucent molecular cloud at 250, 350, and 500 μm. Combining these data with polarimetry from the Planck 850 μm band, we have produced a submillimeter polarization spectrum, the first for a cloud of this type. We find the polarization degree to be largely constant across the four bands. This result introduces a new observable with the potential to place strong empirical constraints on ISM dust polarization models in a previously inaccessible density regime. Compared to models by Draine & Fraisse, our result disfavors two of their models for which all polarization arises due only to aligned silicate grains. By creating simple models for polarized emission in a translucent cloud, we verify that extinction within the cloud should have only a small effect on the polarization spectrum shape, compared to the diffuse ISM. Thus, we expect the measured polarization spectrum to be a valid check on diffuse ISM dust models. The general flatness of the observed polarization spectrum suggests a challenge to models where temperature and alignment degree are strongly correlated across major dust components.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ade, Peter A. R.0000-0002-5127-0401
Fissel, Laura M.0000-0002-3242-8154
Martin, Peter G.0000-0002-5236-3896
Moncelsi, Lorenzo0000-0002-4242-3015
Nakamura, Fumitaka0000-0001-5431-2294
Novak, Giles0000-0003-1288-2656
Pascale, Enzo0000-0002-3242-8154
Poidevin, Frédérick0000-0002-5391-5568
Santos, Fábio P.0000-0002-9650-3619
Scott, Douglas0000-0002-6878-9840
Tucker, Gregory S.0000-0002-6954-6947
Ward-Thompson, Derek0000-0003-1140-2761
Additional Information:© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 July 7; revised 2018 February 11; accepted 2018 February 28; published 2018 April 6. The BLASTPol collaboration acknowledges support from NASA through grant numbers NAG5-12785, NAG5-13301, NNGO-6GI11G, NNX0-9AB98G, and the Illinois Space Grant Consortium, the Canadian Space Agency, the Leverhulme Trust through the Research Project Grant F/00 407/BN, Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, and the US National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. F.P. thanks the European Commission under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions within the H2020 program, Grant Agreement number: 658499 PolAME H2020-MSCA-IF-36 2014. J.D.S. acknowledges support from the European Research Council under the Horizon 2020 Framework Program via the ERC Consolidator Grant CSF-648505 and the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 Grant Agreements no. 306483 and no. 291294. L.M.F. is a Jansky Fellow of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). N.R.A.O. is a facility of the National Science Foundation (NSF) operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Z.Y.L. is supported in part by NASA NNX14AB38G and NSF AST1313083. Based on observations obtained with Planck (, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States, NASA, and Canada. This research made use of data products from the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX). Processing of the data was funded by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, with additional support from NASA Office of Space Science. This research has also made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of UCLA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Illinois Space Grant ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)UNSPECIFIED
Leverhulme TrustF/00 407/BN
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Canada Foundation for InnovationUNSPECIFIED
Ontario Innovation TrustUNSPECIFIED
Marie Curie Fellowship658499
European Research Council (ERC)CSF-648505
European Research Council (ERC)306483
European Research Council (ERC)291294
National Radio Astronomy ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
Ballistic Missile Defense OrganizationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:dust, extinction; instrumentation: polarimeters; ISM: clouds; polarization; submillimeter: ISM; techniques: polarimetric
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180406-132714746
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Peter C. Ashton et al 2018 ApJ 857 10
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:85686
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:09 Apr 2018 15:24
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:31

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