Near-infrared polarimetry of the Red Rectangle
Imaging polarimetry through J and H broad-band filters and a 3.4 μm narrow-band filter is used to highlight the regions of scattered light in the Red Rectangle. We find that the scattered light identifies the circumbinary dust component of the molecular disc seen in CO emission. This region also appears to be the origin of the recently discovered Blue Luminescence. We find that the degrees of polarization are consistent with the amorphous carbon dust model invoked by Men'shchikov. Spectropolarimetry from 1.4 to 2.5 μm confirms that the degree of polarization in the central arcsecond region is very low. This suggests that the central bicone seen in the near-infrared is predominantly due to emission from hot dust and/or from stochastically heated nanoparticles, rather than due to scattering by large grains.