Polarization of MeerKAT Calibrators

A. R. Taylor, L. S. Legodi (2021): Data products for Polarization of MeerKAT Calibrators, 1.0, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, https://doi.org/10.48479/sbtr-k883

Polarization of MeerKAT Calibrators, Taylor et al. (2021) (DOI).

We report on full-Stokes L-band observations of 98 MeerKAT calibration sources. Linear polarization is detected in 69 objects above a fractional level of 0.2%. We identify ten sources with strong fractional linear polarization and low Faraday Rotation Measure that could be suitable for wide-band absolute polarization calibration. A monitoring program would allow us to assess if their polarization properties are stable with time. We detect significant circular polarization from 18% of the sample down to a detection level of 0.1%. Circularly polarized emission is seen only for flat spectrum sources α > −0.5.

We compare our polarized intensities and Faraday Synthesis results to data from the NVSS at 1400 MHz and the ATCA SPASS survey at 2300 MHz. NVSS data exists for 54 of our sources and SPASS data for 20 sources. The the percent polarization and Rotation Measures from both surveys agree well with our results.

The residual instrumental linear polarization for these observations is measured at 0.16% and the residual instrumental circular polarization is measured at 0.06%. These levels may reflect either instabilities in the relative bandpass between the two polarization channels with either time or antenna orientation, or atmospheric/ionospheric variations with pointing direction. Tracking of the hourly gain solutions on J0408-6545 after transfer of the primary gain solutions suggest an deterioration of the gain stability by a factor of several starting about two hours after sunrise. This suggests that observing during the night time could dramatically improve the precision of polarization calibration.

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Report A report for the L-Band image cubes and Polarization spectral plots.2.8MB

This data release was issued on 19 January 2022