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Astron. Astrophys. 350, 1089-1099 (1999)

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Analytical solution of the radiative transfer equation for polarized light

A. López Ariste and M. Semel

DASOP, URA 326, Observatoire de Paris, Section de Meudon, France

Received 2 December 1998 / Accepted 3 August 1999


A new formalism is introduced for the transfer of polarized radiation. Stokes parameters are shown to be four-vectors in a Minkowski-like space and, most strikingly, the radiative transfer equation (RTE) turns out to be an infinitesimal transformation under the Poincaré (plus dilatations) group. A solution to the transfer equation as a finite element of this group is proposed.

Key words: radiative transfer – polarization

Send offprint requests to: A. López Ariste

Correspondence to: Arturo.Lopez@obspm.fr

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: October 14, 1999