Detailed measurements of the polarization of interstellar dust: the PILOT experiment
Paolo de Bernardis, Silvia Masi, Jean-Philippe Bernard et al.
In the near future the balloon-borne experiment PILOT (a French led international effort) will observe interstellar dust polarization in two wavelength bands centered respectively at 240 um and 550 um. We will present the main features of the PILOT experiment, paying particular attention to its polarimetric capability. In fact the polarization properties of interstellar dust are still largely unknown, and polarization measurements are potentially the key to select among different models. However, precise polarization measurements are prone to serious systematic effects. Here we focus on the performance of cryogenic Stokes polarimeters and describe a strategy to mitigate potential systematic effects.