The Zeeman effect or linear birefringence? — VLA polarimetric spectral line observations of H2O masers
We present line profiles of the four Stokes parameters of H2O masers at 22 GHz observed with the VLA in full polarimetric spectral line mode. With careful calibration, the instrumental effects such as linear leakage and the difference of antenna gain between RCP and LCP, can be minimized. Our measurements show a few percent linear polarization. Weak circular polarization was detected at a level of 0.1 percent of the peak intensity. A large uncertainty in the measurements of weak circular polarization is caused by telescope pointing errors. The observed polarization of H2O masers can be interpreted as either the Zeeman effect or linear birefringence.
KeywordsLinear Polarization Circular Polarization Zeeman Splitting Zeeman Effect Instrumental Effect
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