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Paper: Polarimetric Analysis of Binary Stars
Volume: 435, Binaries – Key to Comprehension of the Universe
Page: 225
Authors: Piirola, V.
Abstract: Polarization of starlight carries important information on the physical processes and the radiation mechanisms in the source of emission. These include scattering by free electrons in the hot circumstellar plasma, and cyclotron emission by mildly relativistic electrons in accretion shocks on highly magnetic white dwarf stars. We review the analytical and numerical methods of modeling multi-wavelength polarization observations, and phase-locked variations detected over the binary orbital period, with the aim to determine some of the key parameters of the binary system, such as the orbital inclination, masses of the component stars, and structure and evolution of the circumstellar material. One important aspect of our work is to study magnetic fields of collapsed stars in binary systems. We can resolve cyclotron harmonics with spectropolarimetry, which offers an efficient tool of studying the extremely high magnetic fields (up to ∼100 million Gauss) in these end-products of magnetic star evolution.
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