7h International Workshop on Solar Polarization (SPW7)

The 7th international workshop on Solar Polarization (SPW7) will be organized in
Kunming, China, from 9 to 14 September 2013.

WEBSITE :http://spw7.ynao.ac.cn/


Polarization physics in magnetized media

Scattering polarization and the Second Solar Spectrum

Nature of solar magnetic fields as revealed by polarimetry

Polarized radiation diagnostics of stellar and planetary atmospheres

Polarized radiative transfer and numerical modeling

Molecular polarimetry

Polarimetry of the outer solar atmosphere (transition region and corona)

Polarimetric instrumentation for ground-based and space observations

4MOST workshop

I would like to draw your attention at the following 4MOST workshop


The 4MOST consortium invites the astronomical community to a workshop on Science with Large Area Spectroscopic Surveys
to develop the specific needs for spectroscopic survey facilities in the next decade. This three-day workshop (13-15 Nov 2012)
held at the AIP, Potsdam, will enable discussions between scientists from all astronomical fields from both inside and outside
the 4MOST consortium, in order to ensure that the capabilities and observational strategies of 4MOST will satisfy the largest
range of science opportunities as foreseen by the broader astronomical community.

Although it is unfortunately too late to register, maybe some among you are planning to go and it would be important then to
convey the message that spectropolarimetric data will significantly augment the science legacy of the telescope. If somebody
plans to give a talk there, please let me know and if you agree, we could also share your presentation on our website. 

Also, there might be more opportunities to discuss the Conceptual Design Study, so we will keep you informed.

iSPEX wins!

Congratulations to the iSPEX team for winning a 100 000 € Dutch award for outreach.


Vote for iSPEX

The iSPEX team is running for a big public appreciating award. Everybody can vote including from abroad. Go to

http://www.wetenschap24.nl/programmas/labyrint/publieksprijs1/stempagina.html .

and vote for the iSPEX team.

A compact and robust method for full Stokes spectropolarimetry

Sparks, Germer, MacKenty and Snik
We present an approach to spectropolarimetry which requires neither moving parts nor time dependent modulation, and which offers the prospect of achieving high sensitivity. The technique applies equally well, in principle, in the optical, UV or IR. The concept, which is one of those generically known as channeled polarimetry, is to encode the polarization information at each wavelength along the spatial dimension of a 2D data array using static, robust optical components. A single two-dimensional data frame contains the full polarization information and can be configured to measure either two or all of the Stokes polarization parameters. By acquiring full polarimetric information in a single observation, we simplify polarimetry of transient sources and in situations where the instrument and target are in relative motion. The robustness and simplicity of the approach, coupled to its potential for high sensitivity, and applicability over a wide wavelength range, is likely to prove useful for applications in challenging environments such as space.


Biosignatures as revealed by spectropolarimetry of Earthshine

Earthshine is reflected Earth's light visible on the Moon's night side.


Study of the Earthshine provides information about what has reflected light coming from the Sun.  Indeed, properties are different whether light is reflected off oceans or continents. Light can also be scattered by air molecules, aerosols or cloud particles when passing through the Earth's atmosphere.

Light which has been reflected/scattered becomes strongly linearly polarized. Therefore, using spectropolarimetric observations (measurements of the polarization at several wavelengths or colors), it is possible to detect the spectral signatures of aerosols, clouds, etc...but also from vegetation. European astronomers have used this technique to determine the fractional contribution of clouds and ocean surface. The results are sensitive to visible areas of vegetation as small as 10 per cent.

These results represent a benchmark for the diagnostics of the atmospheric composition, mean cloud height and surfaces of exoplanets, planets orbiting around other stars.

These results have been published in Nature.  One of the authors, Dr. Stefano Bagnulo from Armagh Observatory (UK) is an active member of this COST Action.

Related links :

- Original paper published in Nature

- ESO Press release : VLT rediscovers Life on Earth

- Press release from Armagh Observatory: Astronomers search for life

- Article in the French newspaper Libération : Il y a de la vie sur Terre, la Lune le dit

- Article in the French newspaper Le Monde : Quand La Lune reflète la vie terrestre