New paper: Calibration and performance studies of the balloon-borne hard X-ray polarimeter PoGO+
Polarimetric observations of celestial sources in the hard X-ray band stand to provide new information on emission mechanisms and source geometries. PoGO+ is a Compton scattering polarimeter (20-150 keV) optimised for the observation of the Crab (pulsar and wind nebula) and Cygnus X-1 (black hole binary), from a stratospheric balloon-borne platform launched from the Esrange Space Centre in summer 2016. Prior to flight, the response of the polarimeter has been studied with polarised and unpolarised X-rays allowing a Geant4-based simulation model to be validated. The expected modulation factor for Crab observations is found to be MCrab=(41.75±0.85)%, resulting in an expected Minimum Detectable Polarisation (MDP) of 7.3% for a 7 day flight. This will allow a measurement of the Crab polarisation parameters with at least 5σ statistical significance assuming a polarisation fraction ∼20% − a significant improvement over the PoGOLite Pathfinder mission which flew in 2013 and from which the PoGO+ design is developed.