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Probing the cold magnetised Universe with SPICA-POL (B-BOP)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Fletcher



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Astronomical Society of Australia 2019. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licenceSpace Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a 'Phase A' concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100-350 µm images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200 µm images will also have a factor ∼30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Andre Ph, Hughes A, Guillet V, Boulanger F, Bracco A, Ntormousi E, Arzoumanian D, Maury AJ, Bernard J-Ph, Bontemps S, Ristorcelli I, Girart JM, Motte F, Tassis K, Pantin E, Montmerle T, Johnstone D, Gabici S, Efstathiou A, Basu S, Bethermin M, Beuther H, Braine J, Di Francesco J, Falgarone E, Ferriere K, Fletcher A, Galametz M, Giard M, Hennebelle P, Jones A, Kepley AA, Kwon J, Lagache G, Lesaffre P, Levrier F, Li D, Li Z-Y, Mao SA, Nakagawa T, Onaka T, Paladino R, Peretto N, Poglitsch A, Reveret V, Rodriguez L, Sauvage M, Soler JD, Spinoglio L, Tabatabaei F, Tritsis A, van der Tak F, Ward-Thompson D, Wiesemeyer H, Ysard N, Zhang H

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia

Year: 2019

Volume: 36

Online publication date: 02/08/2019

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1323-3580

ISSN (electronic): 1448-6083

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/pasa.2019.20