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Preprint typeset using L ATEX style emulateapj v. 6/22/04 OPTICAL POLARIZATION FROM ALIGNED ATOMS AS A NEW DIAGNOSTIC OF ASTROPHYSICAL MAGNETIC FIELDS

By Huirong Yan and A. Lazarian

Abstract

Population of levels of the hyperfine and fine split ground state of an atom is affected by radiative transitions induced by anisotropic radiation flux. Such aligned atoms precess in the external magnetic field and this affects properties of polarized radiation arising from both scattering and absorption by atoms. As the result the degree of light polarization depends on the direction of the magnetic field. This provides a new tool for studies of astrophysical magnetic fields using optical and UV polarimetry. We provide calculations for several atoms and ions that can be used to study magnetic fields in interplanetary medium, interstellar medium, circumstellar regions and quasars. Subject headings: atomic processes—magnetic fields—polarization — techniques: spectroscopic— (stars:) circumstellar matter — ISM: atoms 1

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.317.954
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