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Magnetic Fields in Nearby Galaxies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Fletcher


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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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fletcher A

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Dynamic Interstellar Medium: A Celebration of the Canadian Galactic Plane Survey

Year of Conference: 2010

Pages: 197-210

Publisher: Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series

ISBN: 9781583817568