A Radio and Optical Polarization Study of the Magnetic Field in the Small Magellanic Cloud

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 07/2008; DOI: 10.1086/590546
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present a study of the magnetic field of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), carried out using radio Faraday rotation and optical starlight polarization data. Consistent negative rotation measures (RMs) across the SMC indicate that the line-of-sight magnetic field is directed uniformly away from us with a strength 0.19 +/- 0.06 microGauss. Applying the Chandrasekhar-Fermi method to starlight polarization data yields an ordered magnetic field in the plane of the sky of strength 1.6 +/- 0.4 microGauss oriented at a position angle 4 +/- 12 degs, measured counter-clockwise from the great circle on the sky joining the SMC to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We construct a three-dimensional magnetic field model of the SMC, under the assumption that the RMs and starlight polarization probe the same underlying large-scale field. The vector defining the overall orientation of the SMC magnetic field shows a potential alignment with the vector joining the center of the SMC to the center of the LMC, suggesting the possibility of a "pan-Magellanic'' magnetic field. A cosmic-ray driven dynamo is the most viable explanation of the observed field geometry, but has difficulties accounting for the observed uni-directional field lines. A study of Faraday rotation through the Magellanic Bridge is needed to further test the pan-Magellanic field hypothesis. Comment: 28 pages, 6 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present preliminary results of our deep Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) radio-continuum survey of the Magellanic Clouds Planetary Nebulae.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 01/2012; 399(2).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the five key science projects for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is "The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Magnetism", in which radio polarimetry will be used to reveal what cosmic magnets look like and what role they have played in the evolving Universe. Many of the SKA prototypes now being built are also targeting magnetic fields and polarimetry as key science areas. Here I review the prospects for innovative new polarimetry and Faraday rotation experiments with forthcoming facilities such as ASKAP, LOFAR, the ATA, the EVLA, and ultimately the SKA. Sensitive wide-field polarisation surveys with these telescopes will provide a dramatic new view of magnetic fields in the Milky Way, in nearby galaxies and clusters, and in the high-redshift Universe. Comment: 7 pages, including 2 colour figures. To appear in proceedings of IAU Symposium 259: "Cosmic Magnetic Fields: From Planets, To Stars and Galaxies", Tenerife, Nov 2008
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 01/2009;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Observations of synchrotron radiation and the Faraday rotation of its polarized component allow us to investigate the magnetic properties of the diffuse interstellar medium in nearby galaxies, on scales down to roughly one hundred parsecs. All disc galaxies seem to have a mean, or regular, magnetic field component that is ordered on length scales comparable to the size of the galaxy as well as a random magnetic field of comparable or greater strength. I present an overview of what is currently known observationally about galactic magnetic fields, focusing on the common features among galaxies that have been studied rather than the distinctive or unusual properties of individual galaxies. Of particular interest are the azimuthal patterns formed by regular magnetic fields and their pitch angles as these quantities can be directly related to the predictions of the mean field dynamo theory, the most promising theoretical explanation for the apparent ubiquitous presence of regular magnetic fields in disc galaxies.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 27, 2014