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Researchers observe a cosmic whale to find out about galaxies’ magnetic fields

NGC 4631 is seen edge-on, with its disk of stars proven in pink; the filaments, proven in inexperienced and blue, prolong past the disk into the galaxy’s prolonged halo; inexperienced signifies filaments with their magnetic discipline pointing roughly towards us and blue with the sector pointing away; this phenomenon, with the sector alternating in route, has by no means earlier than been seen within the halo of a galaxy. This VLA picture reveals a companion galaxy — a small elliptical galaxy known as NGC 4627 — simply above NGC 4631. Jayanne English, College of Manitoba / Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo & Marita Krause of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy / Maria Patterson & Rene Walterbos, New Mexico State College / Arpad Miskolczi, College of Bochum / NRAO

Astronomers wish to a cosmic whale to study in regards to the magnetic fields which encompass galaxies. The picture above of NCG 4631, often known as the “Whale Galaxy,” was captured by the Very Massive Array in New Mexico, and reveals filaments of the magnetic discipline in inexperienced and blue, snaking out from the principle physique of the galaxy.

Researchers know that galaxies are surrounded by halos: areas of sizzling gasoline and darkish matter which extends past the seen a part of the galaxy. These halos have magnetic fields operating by them which have an effect on the passage of cosmic rays and affect star formation. However we don’t know a lot in regards to the construction of those fields. That’s why the brand new findings within the Whale Galaxy are so helpful, because it has one of many largest halos we’ve present in a galaxy noticed from edge-on.

“That is the primary time that we now have clearly detected what astronomers name large-scale, coherent, magnetic fields far within the halo of a spiral galaxy, with the sector traces aligned in the identical route over distances of a thousand light-years,” Dr. Marita Krause, an astronomer with the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, stated in an announcement. “We even see a daily sample of this organized discipline altering route.”

To detect the magnetic discipline of the galaxy, the researchers used the antenna array to find naturally emitted radio waves. Through the use of totally different configurations of the array, they have been capable of detect each the bigger buildings of the galaxy in addition to the finer particulars just like the filaments.

These findings may assist to clarify extra in regards to the relationship between the formation of galaxies and their magnetic fields, because the researchers defined: “Constructing such an image can reply essential questions resembling how galaxies purchase magnetic fields, and whether or not all such fields are produced by a dynamo impact. Can these galaxy halo fields illuminate the mysterious origin of the even bigger intergalactic magnetic fields which have been noticed?”

The findings are printed in two papers within the journals Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Month-to-month Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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