This report describes the inception, development and extensive use over 30 years of elliptical polarimeters at the University of Pennsylvania. The initial Mark I polarimeter design utilized oriented retarder plates and a calcite Foster-Clarke prism as the analyzer. The Mark I polarimeter was used on the Kitt Peak 0.9 m in 1969-70 to accomplish a survey of approximately 70 objects before the device was relocated to the 0.72 m reflector at the Flower and Cook Observatory. Successive generations of automation and improvements included the early-80's optical redesign to utilize a photoelastic modulated wave plate and an Ithaco lock-in amplifier-the photoelastic modulating polarimeter. The final design in 2000 concluded with a fully remote operable device. The legacy of the polarimetric programs includes studies of close binaries, pulsating hot stars, and luminous late-type variables.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

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This is an open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which premits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Elliptical polarimetry, Flower and cook observatory, Polarimeter, Polarization

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Journal of Astronomy and Space Sciences