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Today's Colloquium: Optical Pulsars: Current and Future Polarimetry

Submitter: Andrew Shearer
Description: Optical pulsar studies are the poor relation of radio observations primarily due to their faintness and consequent difficulty in obtaining basic data beyond basic photometry. Over the next decade this change with larger optical telescopes and higher throughput instrumentation.

This talk will review the current state of optical polarisation measurements of pulsars concentrating on multi-wavelength observations of the Crab pulsar which is bright enough for both spectroscopy and polarimetry. Until recently the Crab nebula was regarded as a high-energy standard candle but observations of strong flares changed that perspective. The location of the flares and any association with the central pulsar is not understood. Recent joint optical - Gamma-ray observations [Moran et al, 20016, MNRAS, 456, 297] with Integral and the Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP) indicates possible variability in the optical polarisation from the region around the Crab pulsar. Is this associated with the flaring activity? Phase resolved optical polarisation measurements also offer the possibility of mapping the emissions zones with a pulsar’s magnetosphere, first results and pitfalls of this will also be presented.

Finally, future possibilities with SKA, XIPE and Micado/E-ELT will be explored.
Copyright: Andrew Shearer
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