A High-Precision Optical Polarimeter to Measure Inclinations of High-Mass X-Ray Binaries

Sloane J. Wiktorowicz, Keith Matthews
2008 Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific  
We present commissioning data for the POLISH instrument obtained on the Hale 5-m telescope. The goal of this high precision polarimeter is to constrain orbital inclination of high mass X-ray binaries and to therefore obtain independent mass estimates for their black hole companions. We have obtained photon shot noise limited precision on standard stars, and we have measured the polarization of bright stars at the part per million level on a nightly basis. Systematic effects have been reduced to
more » ... ave been reduced to less than 1% of the measured polarization for polarized sources and to the part per million level for weakly polarized sources. The high sensitivity of this instrument to asymmetry suggests that valuable contributions will be made in many other fields, including studies of extrasolar planets, debris disks, and stellar astrophysics.
doi:10.1086/595966 fatcat:aympgiisvjb7pjwbja2ngssrp4