Letters of Intent for 2014

LoI 2014-133
Polarimetry: The Sun to Stars and Stellar Environments


19 January 2014 to 24 January 2014


Punta Leona, Costa Rica, Costa Rica


Bruce Lites (lites@ucar.edu)

Coordinating division:

Division II Sun & Heliosphere

Co-Chairs of SOC:

Javier Trujillo Bueno (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias)
Bruce Lites (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
Franscisco Frutos Alfaro (University of Costa Rica)

Co-Chairs of LOC:

Francisco Frutos Alfaro (University of Costa Rica)
Bruce Lites (NCAR)



1. Physical Processes for Generation and Modification of Polarization in Solar and Stellar Envelopes
2. Numerical Modeling of Polarization
3. Instrumentation for Astrophysical Polarimetry and Spectro-Polarimetry
4. Data Analysis techniques for Polarization Observations
5. Frontier Science Involving Solar and Stellar Polarimetry
6. Future Directions in Astrophysical Polarimetry



Polarimetry is emerging as a remarkable diagnostic tool for inference of conditions in stellar atmospheres and their surroundings. Not only does polarization carry information on magnetic fields, polarization from scattering processes is sensitive to physical conditions of the scattering medium even when no magnetic fields are present. Polarimetric observations require specialized instrumentation and data analysis techniques that differ substantially from observations of intensity alone.

Remarkable advances have occurred in both solar and stellar polarimetric observations in recent years, aided by the advent of many new ground- and space-based observing facilities that embrace polarimetric or spectro-polarimetric capability. However, there is a vast untapped potential for further advancement. The intent of this proposed IAU symposium is to bring together researchers from both the solar and stellar communities to share experience and techniques. The structure of the meeting will be such that solar and stellar discussions are intermingled. The proposed Symposium is unique in this respect; in practice, other meetings have been dominated by one or the other of these communities. For the proposed Symposium, emphasis will be placed not only on diagnostic techniques and interpretation of measurements, but also on developments in instrumentation, observing techniques, advanced data analysis techniques, and numerical simulations. Given the relevance of polarimetric measurements to many aspects of astrophysics, the techniques and physical interpretations addressed in the Symposium will be of interest to a much wider audience than just the solar and stellar communities.

The proposed venue of the meeting, Costa Rica, is timely in that this country was recently admitted to the IAU at the General Assembly in Beijing in August, 2012. The proposed meeting would be the first IAU Symposium to be held in Central America. Costa Rica is well-positioned to host this Symposium: among countries in Central America, Costa Rica stands out as uniquely forward-looking with respect to education, technological advancement, and the environment. An important goal of this symposium will be to promote astronomical science in the region, and to provide opportunity for students and young astronomers of the region to participate.

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