Near-infrared circular polarization survey in star-forming regions: Correlations and trends

Jungmi Kwon, Motohide Tamura, J. Hough, Nobuhiko Kusakabe, Tetsuya Nagata, Yasushi Nakajima, P.W. Lucas, Takahiro Nagayama, Ryo Kandori

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We have conducted a systematic near-infrared circular polarization (CP) survey in star-forming regions, covering high-mass, intermediate-mass, and low-mass young stellar objects. All the observations were made using the SIRPOL imaging polarimeter on the Infrared Survey Facility 1.4 m telescope at the South African Astronomical Observatory. We present the polarization properties of 10 sub-regions in 6 star-forming regions. The polarization patterns, extents, and maximum degrees of linear and circular polarizations are used to determine the prevalence and origin of CP in the star-forming regions. Our results show that the CP pattern is quadrupolar in general, the CP regions are extensive, up to 0.65 pc, the CP degrees are high, up to 20%, and the CP degrees decrease systematically from high- to low-mass young stellar objects. The results are consistent with dichroic extinction mechanisms generating the high degrees of CP in star-forming regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL16
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Early online date16 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • dust, extinction
  • infrared: ISM
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • polarization
  • stars: formation
  • surveys


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