We describe a technique for measuring the polarization of hard X‐rays from solar flares based on the angular distribution of that portion of the flux which is scattered off the top of the Earth’s atmosphere. The scattering cross section depends not only on the scatter angle itself, but on the orientation of the scatter angle with respect to the incident polarization vector. Consequently, the distribution of the observed albedo flux will depend on the direction and the polarization properties (i.e., the level of polarization and polarization angle) of the source. Since the albedo component can represent a relatively large fraction (up to 40%) of the direct source flux, there will generally be sufficient signal for making such a measurement. The sensitivity of this approach is therefore dictated by the effective area and the ability of a detector system to ‘image’ the albedo flux. The 4π coverage of the BATSE detectors on the Compton GammaRayObservatory provides an opportunity to measure both the direct and the albedo flux from a given solar flare event. Although the BATSE design (with its large field‐of‐view for each detector) is not optimized for albedo polarimetry, we have nonetheless investigated the feasibility of this technique using BATSE data.


Space Science Center, Physics

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AIP Conference Proceedings


AIP Publishing

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Conference Proceeding


© 1996 American Institute of Physics