POLARIMETRIC STUDIES OF PLANETARY OBJECTS
The light that we receive at visible wavelengths from planets and small bodies is scattered sunlight, and is in a state of partial linear polarization. The state of polarization changes in different observing circumstances (illumination), and the study of these changes provides useful information about the objects, including the albedo and other properties of their surface layers.
The Torino team active in Planetary science is one of the world leaders in the application of the technique of polarimetry to the study of the bodies of our solar system. A collaboration with the colleagues of the observatory of Nice (France), based on the use of a modern polarimeter built in the Torino observatory is ongoing and has already produced large amounts of useful new data in asteroid science.