We have made high-precision polarimetric observations of the polluted white dwarf G29-38 with the HIgh Precision Polarimetric Instrument 2. The observations were made at two different observatories – using the 8.1-m Gemini North Telescope and the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope – and are consistent with each other. After allowing for a small amount of interstellar polarization, the intrinsic linear polarization of the system is found to be 275.3 ± 31.9 parts per million at a position angle of 90.8 ± 3.8◦ in the SDSS g
band. We compare the observed polarization with the predictions of circumstellar disc models. The measured polarization is small in the context of the models we develop, which only allows us to place limits on disc inclination and Bond albedo for optically thin disc geometries. In this case, either the inclination is near-face-on or the albedo is small – likely in the range 0.05–0.15 – which is in line with other debris disc measurements. A preliminary search for the effects of G29-38’s pulsations in the polarization signal produced inconsistent results. This may be caused by beating effects, indicate a clumpy dust distribution, or be a consequence of measurement systematics.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
The Royal Astronomical Society
Scholarly Commons Citation
Hippel, T. v., Cotton, D. V., Bailey, J., Pringle, J., Sparks, W. B., & Marshall, J. P. (2020). Polarization Measurements of the Polluted White Dwarf G29-38. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 494(4). https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa1023