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Can anyone explain the purpose of measuring light polarisation, as carried out by the upcoming planck satellite?

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This website explains it quite well. Incidentally, it isn't "upcoming", it was launched in 2009. :) – Kitchi Mar 3 '13 at 19:26

Polarized light carries information about the geometrical and optical properties of the source or medium

Many a times in observational astronomy, we need information on the interstellar/intergalactic medium and its scattering properties. That is observed by how it affects the polarization of light from a source behind it. That was one example. Here's a link:

The above link explains some reasons which might cause polarization of light. And these are employed to study the properties of source and medium.

On a personal note, though, there are no limitations. There might be other reasons which polarize light, yet to be undiscovered. It's a delicate property.

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And of course, there's just the fact that you want to gather all of the information available to you! – Jerry Schirmer Apr 2 '13 at 16:36

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