EVLA Advanced Topics 3C391
Continuum Observations Data Reduction Tutorial: 3C 391---Advanced Topics
In this document, we discuss various "advanced topics" for further reduction of the 3C 391 continuum data. This tutorial assumes that the reader already has some familiarity with basic continuum data reduction, such as should have been obtained [Continuum Data Reduction Tutorial] on the first day of the NRAO Synthesis Imaging Workshop data reduction tutorials.
In the previous data reduction tutorial, a full polarization imaging cube of 3C 391 was constructed. This cube has 3 dimensions, the standard two angular dimensions (right ascension, declination) and a third dimension containing the polarization information. Considering the image cube as a matrix, [math]Image[l,m,p][/math], the [math]l[/math] and [math]m[/math] axis describe the sky brightness or intensity for the given [math]p[/math] axis. If one opens the viewer and loads the 3C 391 continuum image, the default view contains an "animator" or pane with movie controls. One can step through the polarization axis, displaying the images for the different polarizations.
As [constructed], the image contains four polarizations, for the four Stokes parameters, I, Q, U, and V. Recalling the lectures, Q and U describe the linear polarization and V describes the circular polarization. Specifically, Q describes the amount of linear polarization aligned with a given axis, and U describes the amount of linear polarization at a 45 deg angle to that axis. The V parameter describes the amount of circular polarization, with the sign (positive or negative) describing the sense of the circular polarization (right- or left-hand circularly polarized).
In general, few celestial sources are expected to show circular polarization, with the notable exception of masers, while terrestrial and satellite sources are often highly circularly polarized. The V image is therefore often worth forming because any V emission could be indicative of unflagged RFI within the data.