High precision polarimetry with the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope


This paper addresses the issue of calibrating the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope for high-precision polarimetry, in particular of the optical train above the Gregorian station (where suitable calibration optics will be placed). Conventional techniques would not be adequate for this telescope given its large aperture. Here we explore two different methods that are currently being considered by the design team. The first one is the ``sub-aperture’’ method, which uses small calibration optics above the primary mirror to calibrate a small sub-aperture of the system. This calibration is then extended to the full aperture by means of actual observations. The second method is based on analyzing the polarization observed in a spectral line with a peculiar Zeeman pattern, such as the FeII 614.9 nm line, which does not produce any intrinsic linear polarization. Numerical simulations are presented that show the robustness of both techniques and their respective advantages and disadvantages are discussed.