When discussing how polarized light can help clarify our understanding of supernova mechanisms, this article initially quotes Doug Leonard’s explanation that “one does not see deeper into an object using polarimetry.” Later, the story says that “polarization studies viewed deeper and deeper layers of the explosion.” Which is it?
Hal Heaton Damascus, Md.
Polarization studies don’t provide a more penetrating view in the way that a radio wave or infrared detector can peer through dust. Rather, as dust around a supernova thins, the amount of polarized light can tell you the shape of the exploded star.
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