New Paper "Preflight performance studies of the PoGOLite hard X-ray polarimeter"
Polarimetric studies of astrophysical sources can make important contributions to resolve the geometry of the emitting region and determine the photon emission mechanism. PoGOLite is a balloon-borne polarimeter operating in the hard X-ray band (25-240 keV), with a Pathfinder mission focussing on Crab observations. Within the polarimeter, the distribution of Compton scattering angles is used to determine the polarisation fraction and angle of incident photons. To assure an unbiased measurement of the polarisation during a balloon flight it is crucial to characterise the performance of the instrument before the launch. This paper presents the results of the PoGOLite calibration tests and simulations performed before the 2013 balloon flight. The tests performed confirm that the polarimeter does not have any intrinsic asymmetries and therefore does not induce bias into the measurements. Generally, good agreement is found between results from test data and simulations which allows the polarimeter performance to be estimated for Crab observations.