The Challenges of Low-Frequency Radio Polarimetry: Lessons from the Murchison Widefield Array
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This paper has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form, subsequent to peer review and/or editorial input by Cambridge University Press, in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia published by Cambridge University Press. Copyright © 2017 Astronomical Society of Australia.
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
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