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Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy

Giant magnetic ropes in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy

26 Nov 2019, 14:00 UTC
Giant magnetic ropes in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy Jayanne English (Univ. of Manitoba). Radio data: Jansky-VLA (Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo et al. 2019). Optical data: Mayall 4-meter telescope (Maria Patterson and Rene Walterbos, New Mexico State Univ.). Software code for tracing the . . .

An international consortium led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, investigated polarized radio emission from the galaxy NGC 4631 at the VLA radio telescope with a broad-band receiver in a number of spectral windows. They detected for the first time a regular magnetic field over scales of several thousands of light years in the halo of NGC 4631. Moreover, they discovered reversals in the large-scale magnetic field, which they call giant magnetic ropes. This discovery will strengthen the impact of large-scale dynamo theories for spiral galaxies. Further, the regular halo fields may be regarded as a link to intergalactic magnetic fields and will help to understand their origin which is a mystery so far.

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