Abstract

Polarization of light in the galaxy as determined from the observations of 551 distant stars is discussed from the viewpoints of: (1) its nature and probable origin, (2) its space distribution, and (3) its relationship to such parameters as space reddening, the intensity of interstellar spectral lines, and the distance of the stars. Observations of polarized light from different portions of the Orion nebula are presented and its probable. origin is briefly discussed.

© 1951 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Publication of U. S. Naval Observatory 17, Part 1, 1–62 (1950).
  2. B. Lyot, Ann. de De L’Observatoire de Paris-Sec. de Meudon 8, Part 1, 102 (1929).
  3. Stebbins, Huffer, and Whitford, Astrophys. J. 91, 20 (1940); Mt. Wilson Contributions No. 621.
    [Crossref]
  4. John S. Hall, Astron. J. 54, 39 (1948).
    [Crossref]
  5. John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Astron. J. 54, 187 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  6. John S. Hall, Science 109, 166 (1949).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  7. W. A. Hiltner, Astrophys. J. 109, 471 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  8. W. A. Hiltner, Phys. Rev. 78, 170 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  9. W. A. Hiltner, Science 109, 165 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  10. Lyman Spitzer and John W. Tukey, Science 109, 461 (1949).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  11. Jesse L. Greenstein and Leverett Davis, Phys. Rev. 75, 1605 (1949); Astron. J. 55, 71 (1950).
  12. H. C. van de Hulst, Astrophys. J. 112, 1 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  13. W. S. Adams, Astrophys. J. 97, 105 (1943) and Astrophys. J. 109, 354 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  14. Lyman Spitzer, Astrophys. J. 93, 369 (1941); Astrophys. J. 94, 232 (1941); Astrophys. J. 95, 329 (1942).
    [Crossref]
  15. Walter T. Whitney and Edwin B. Weston, Astrophys. J. 107, 371 (1948).
    [Crossref]
  16. V. M. Slipher, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific 31, 212 (1919).
    [Crossref]
  17. Daniel Barbier, Ann. d’Astrophys. 7, 80 (1944).
  18. Jesse L. Greenstein, Astrophys. J. 104, 414 (1946).
    [Crossref]
  19. W. F. Meyer, , 68 (1920).
    [Crossref]

1950 (3)

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Publication of U. S. Naval Observatory 17, Part 1, 1–62 (1950).

W. A. Hiltner, Phys. Rev. 78, 170 (1950).
[Crossref]

H. C. van de Hulst, Astrophys. J. 112, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

1949 (6)

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Astron. J. 54, 187 (1949).
[Crossref]

John S. Hall, Science 109, 166 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

W. A. Hiltner, Astrophys. J. 109, 471 (1949).
[Crossref]

W. A. Hiltner, Science 109, 165 (1949).
[Crossref]

Lyman Spitzer and John W. Tukey, Science 109, 461 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Jesse L. Greenstein and Leverett Davis, Phys. Rev. 75, 1605 (1949); Astron. J. 55, 71 (1950).

1948 (2)

John S. Hall, Astron. J. 54, 39 (1948).
[Crossref]

Walter T. Whitney and Edwin B. Weston, Astrophys. J. 107, 371 (1948).
[Crossref]

1946 (1)

Jesse L. Greenstein, Astrophys. J. 104, 414 (1946).
[Crossref]

1944 (1)

Daniel Barbier, Ann. d’Astrophys. 7, 80 (1944).

1943 (1)

W. S. Adams, Astrophys. J. 97, 105 (1943) and Astrophys. J. 109, 354 (1949).
[Crossref]

1941 (1)

Lyman Spitzer, Astrophys. J. 93, 369 (1941); Astrophys. J. 94, 232 (1941); Astrophys. J. 95, 329 (1942).
[Crossref]

1940 (1)

Stebbins, Huffer, and Whitford, Astrophys. J. 91, 20 (1940); Mt. Wilson Contributions No. 621.
[Crossref]

1929 (1)

B. Lyot, Ann. de De L’Observatoire de Paris-Sec. de Meudon 8, Part 1, 102 (1929).

1919 (1)

V. M. Slipher, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific 31, 212 (1919).
[Crossref]

Adams, W. S.

W. S. Adams, Astrophys. J. 97, 105 (1943) and Astrophys. J. 109, 354 (1949).
[Crossref]

Barbier, Daniel

Daniel Barbier, Ann. d’Astrophys. 7, 80 (1944).

Davis, Leverett

Jesse L. Greenstein and Leverett Davis, Phys. Rev. 75, 1605 (1949); Astron. J. 55, 71 (1950).

Greenstein, Jesse L.

Jesse L. Greenstein and Leverett Davis, Phys. Rev. 75, 1605 (1949); Astron. J. 55, 71 (1950).

Jesse L. Greenstein, Astrophys. J. 104, 414 (1946).
[Crossref]

Hall, John S.

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Publication of U. S. Naval Observatory 17, Part 1, 1–62 (1950).

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Astron. J. 54, 187 (1949).
[Crossref]

John S. Hall, Science 109, 166 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

John S. Hall, Astron. J. 54, 39 (1948).
[Crossref]

Hiltner, W. A.

W. A. Hiltner, Phys. Rev. 78, 170 (1950).
[Crossref]

W. A. Hiltner, Science 109, 165 (1949).
[Crossref]

W. A. Hiltner, Astrophys. J. 109, 471 (1949).
[Crossref]

Huffer,

Stebbins, Huffer, and Whitford, Astrophys. J. 91, 20 (1940); Mt. Wilson Contributions No. 621.
[Crossref]

Lyot, B.

B. Lyot, Ann. de De L’Observatoire de Paris-Sec. de Meudon 8, Part 1, 102 (1929).

Meyer, W. F.

W. F. Meyer, , 68 (1920).
[Crossref]

Mikesell, A. H.

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Publication of U. S. Naval Observatory 17, Part 1, 1–62 (1950).

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Astron. J. 54, 187 (1949).
[Crossref]

Slipher, V. M.

V. M. Slipher, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific 31, 212 (1919).
[Crossref]

Spitzer, Lyman

Lyman Spitzer and John W. Tukey, Science 109, 461 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Lyman Spitzer, Astrophys. J. 93, 369 (1941); Astrophys. J. 94, 232 (1941); Astrophys. J. 95, 329 (1942).
[Crossref]

Stebbins,

Stebbins, Huffer, and Whitford, Astrophys. J. 91, 20 (1940); Mt. Wilson Contributions No. 621.
[Crossref]

Tukey, John W.

Lyman Spitzer and John W. Tukey, Science 109, 461 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

van de Hulst, H. C.

H. C. van de Hulst, Astrophys. J. 112, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

Weston, Edwin B.

Walter T. Whitney and Edwin B. Weston, Astrophys. J. 107, 371 (1948).
[Crossref]

Whitford,

Stebbins, Huffer, and Whitford, Astrophys. J. 91, 20 (1940); Mt. Wilson Contributions No. 621.
[Crossref]

Whitney, Walter T.

Walter T. Whitney and Edwin B. Weston, Astrophys. J. 107, 371 (1948).
[Crossref]

Ann. d’Astrophys. (1)

Daniel Barbier, Ann. d’Astrophys. 7, 80 (1944).

Ann. de De L’Observatoire de Paris-Sec. de Meudon (1)

B. Lyot, Ann. de De L’Observatoire de Paris-Sec. de Meudon 8, Part 1, 102 (1929).

Astron. J. (2)

John S. Hall, Astron. J. 54, 39 (1948).
[Crossref]

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Astron. J. 54, 187 (1949).
[Crossref]

Astrophys. J. (7)

Stebbins, Huffer, and Whitford, Astrophys. J. 91, 20 (1940); Mt. Wilson Contributions No. 621.
[Crossref]

W. A. Hiltner, Astrophys. J. 109, 471 (1949).
[Crossref]

Jesse L. Greenstein, Astrophys. J. 104, 414 (1946).
[Crossref]

H. C. van de Hulst, Astrophys. J. 112, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

W. S. Adams, Astrophys. J. 97, 105 (1943) and Astrophys. J. 109, 354 (1949).
[Crossref]

Lyman Spitzer, Astrophys. J. 93, 369 (1941); Astrophys. J. 94, 232 (1941); Astrophys. J. 95, 329 (1942).
[Crossref]

Walter T. Whitney and Edwin B. Weston, Astrophys. J. 107, 371 (1948).
[Crossref]

Phys. Rev. (2)

Jesse L. Greenstein and Leverett Davis, Phys. Rev. 75, 1605 (1949); Astron. J. 55, 71 (1950).

W. A. Hiltner, Phys. Rev. 78, 170 (1950).
[Crossref]

Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific (1)

V. M. Slipher, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific 31, 212 (1919).
[Crossref]

Publication of U. S. Naval Observatory (1)

John S. Hall and A. H. Mikesell, Publication of U. S. Naval Observatory 17, Part 1, 1–62 (1950).

Science (3)

W. A. Hiltner, Science 109, 165 (1949).
[Crossref]

Lyman Spitzer and John W. Tukey, Science 109, 461 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

John S. Hall, Science 109, 166 (1949).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Other (1)

W. F. Meyer, , 68 (1920).
[Crossref]

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Space distribution of the polarization of 551 stars. Each filled circle represents a star for which no polarization was detected. The length and direction of each line signify the percentage and direction of the polarization for a star at the mean position of the line. The central line corresponds to the central plane of the Milky Way.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Polarization of light from the Orion nebula. The Trapezium stars and three other very hot stars are shown in black. As in Fig. 1 the observed plane of polarization is shown by the direction of the individual lines and the percentage by their lengths. Two white lines at the upper right represent observations in a fainter area of the nebula.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Average directions of the planes of polarization. These planes pass close to HD 37022 and therefore indicate that this star, the hottest and most luminous in the region, initially radiated most of the light from the surrounding nebula which is polarized.

Equations (1)

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p = ( I 1 - I 2 ) / ( I 1 + I 2 ) ,