Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 421, 681-691 (2004/7-2)
Ellipticity and deviations from orthogonality in the polarization modes of PSR B0329+54.
EDWARDS R.T. and STAPPERS B.W.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report on an analysis of the polarization of single pulses of PSR B0329+54 at 328MHz. We find that the distribution of polarization orientations in the central component diverges strongly from the standard picture of orthogonal polarization modes (OPMs), making a remarkable partial annulus on the Poincare sphere. A second, tightly clustered region of density appears in the opposite hemisphere, at a point antipodal to the centre of the annulus. We argue that this can be understood in terms of birefringent alterations in the relative phase of two elliptically polarized propagation modes in the pulsar magnetosphere (i.e. generalised Faraday rotation). The ellipticity of the modes implies a significant charge density in the plasma, while the presence of both senses of circular polarization, and the fact that only one mode shows the effect, supports the view that refracted ordinary-mode rays are involved in the production of the annulus. At other pulse longitudes the polarization (including the circular component) is broadly consistent with an origin in elliptical OPMs, shown here quantitatively for the first time, however considerable non-orthogonal contributions serve to broaden the orientation distribution in an isotropic manner.