A concept is described for the high-accuracy absolute calibration of the instrumental polarization introduced by the primary mirror of a large-aperture telescope. This procedure requires a small aperture with polarization-calibration optics (e.g., mounted on the dome) followed by a lens that opens the beam to illuminate the entire surface of the mirror. The Jones matrix corresponding to this calibration setup (with a diverging incident beam) is related to that of the normal observing setup (with a collimated incident beam) by an approximate correction term. Numerical models of parabolic on-axis and off-axis mirrors with surface imperfections are used to explore the accuracy of the procedure.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
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