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IMAGINE: A comprehensive view of the interstellar medium, Galactic magnetic fields and cosmic rays

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Fletcher, Dr Luiz Felippe RodriguesORCiD, Amit Seta, Professor Anvar ShukurovORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


In this white paper we introduce the IMAGINE Consortium and its scientificbackground, goals and structure. The purpose of the consortium is to coordinate and fa-cilitate the efforts of a diverse group of researchers in the broad areas of the interstellarmedium, Galactic magnetic fields and cosmic rays, and our overarching goal is to developmore comprehensive insights into the structures and roles of interstellar magnetic fields andtheir interactions with cosmic rays within the context of Galactic astrophysics. The ongoingrapid development of observational and numerical facilities and techniques has resulted ina widely felt need to advance this subject to a qualitatively higher level of self-consistency,depth and rigour. This can only be achieved by the coordinated efforts of experts in diverseareas of astrophysics involved in observational, theoretical and numerical work. We presentour view of the present status of this research area, identify its key unsolved problems andsuggest a strategy that will underpin our work. The backbone of the consortium is theInterstellar MAGnetic field INference Engine, a publicly available Bayesian platform thatemploys robust statistical methods to explore the multi-dimensional likelihood space usingany number of modular inputs. This tool will be used by the IMAGINE Consortium todevelop an interpretation and modelling framework that provides the method, power andflexibility to interfuse information from a variety of observational, theoretical and numericallines of evidence into a self-consistent and comprehensive picture of the thermal and non-thermal interstellar media. An important innovation is that a consistent understanding ofthe phenomena that are directly or indirectly influenced by the Galactic magnetic field, suchas the deflection of ultra-high energy cosmic rays or extragalactic backgrounds, is made anintegral part of the modelling. The IMAGINE Consortium, which is informal by nature andopen to new participants, hereby presents a methodological framework for the modelling andunderstanding of Galactic magnetic fields that is available to all communities whose researchrelies on a state of the art solution to this problem.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Boulanger F, Ensslin T, Fletcher A, Girichides P, Hackstein S, Haverkorn M, Hoerandel JR, Jaffe TR, Jasche J, Kachelriess M, Kotera K, Pfrommer C, Rachen JP, Rodrigues LFS, Ruiz-Granados B, Seta A, Shukurov A, Sigl G, Steininger T, Vacca V, van der Velden E, van Vliet A, Wang J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

Year: 2018

Volume: 2018

Issue: 08

Online publication date: 31/08/2018

Acceptance date: 19/06/2018

Date deposited: 06/09/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1475-7516

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1088/1475-7516/2018/08/049



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Funder referenceFunder name
AF, LFSR and AS thank STFC (ST/N00900/1) and The Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2014-427) for funding.