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2017MNRAS.467..873C - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 467, 873-897 (2017/May-1)

The intrinsic and interstellar broad-band linear polarization of nearby FGK dwarfs.


Abstract (from CDS):

We present linear polarization measurements of nearby FGK dwarfs to parts-per-million (ppm) precision. Before making any allowance for interstellar polarization, we found that the active stars within the sample have a mean polarization of 28.5 ± 2.2 ppm, while the inactive stars have a mean of 9.6 ± 1.5 ppm. Amongst inactive stars, we initially found no difference between debris disc host stars (9.1 ± 2.5 ppm) and the other FGK dwarfs (9.9 ± 1.9 ppm). We develop a model for the magnitude and direction of interstellar polarization for nearby stars. When we correct the observations for the estimated interstellar polarization, we obtain 23.0 ± 2.2 ppm for the active stars, 7.8 ± 2.9 ppm for the inactive debris disc host stars and 2.9 ± 1.9 ppm for the other inactive stars. The data indicate that whilst some debris disc host stars are intrinsically polarized most inactive FGK dwarfs have negligible intrinsic polarization, but that active dwarfs have intrinsic polarization at levels ranging up to ∼45 ppm. We briefly consider a number of mechanisms, and suggest that differential saturation of spectral lines in the presence of magnetic fields is best able to explain the polarization seen in active dwarfs. The results have implications for current attempts to detect polarized reflected light from hot Jupiters by looking at the combined light of the star and planet.

Abstract Copyright: © 2017 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society

Journal keyword(s): techniques: polarimetric - stars: activity - circumstellar matter - stars: solar-type - dust, extinction - ISM: magnetic fields - ISM: magnetic fields

Simbad objects: 107

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