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Optical polarisation study of Galactic Open clusters

Namita UppalShashikiran GaneshSantosh JoshiMrinmoy SarkarPrachi PrajapatiAthul Dileep
Nov 2023
Dust is a ubiquitous component in our Galaxy. It accounts for only $1\%$ mass of the ISM but still is an essential part of the Galaxy. It affects our view of the Galaxy by obscuring the starlight at shorter wavelengths and re-emitting in longer wavelengths. Studying the dust distribution in the Galaxy at longer wavelengths may cause discrepancies due to distance ambiguity caused by unknown Galactic potential. However, another aspect of dust, i.e., the polarisation of the background starlight, when combined with distance information, will help to give direct observational evidence of the number of dust clouds encountered in the line of sight. We observed 15 open clusters distributed at increasing distances in three lines of sight using two Indian national facilities. The measured polarisation results used to scrutinize the dust distribution and orientation of the local plane of sky magnetic fields towards selected directions. The analysis of the stars observed towards the distant cluster King 8 cluster shows two foreground layers at a distance of $\sim 500$ pc and $\sim$ 3500 pc. Similar analysis towards different clusters also results in multiple dust layers.
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