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The origin of the structure of large-scale magnetic fields in disc galaxies


Nixon, C J; Hands, T O; King, A R; Pringle, J E (2018). The origin of the structure of large-scale magnetic fields in disc galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 477(3):3539-3551.

Abstract

The large-scale magnetic fields observed in spiral disc galaxies are often thought to result from dynamo action in the disc plane. However, the increasing importance of Faraday depolarization along any line of sight towards the galactic plane suggests that the strongest polarization signal may come from well above (∼0.3–1 kpc) this plane, from the vicinity of the warm interstellar medium (WIM)/halo interface. We propose (see also Henriksen & Irwin 2016) that the observed spiral fields (polarization patterns) result from the action of vertical shear on an initially poloidal field. We show that this simple model accounts for the main observed properties of large-scale fields. We speculate as to how current models of optical spiral structure may generate the observed arm/interarm spiral polarization patterns.

Abstract

The large-scale magnetic fields observed in spiral disc galaxies are often thought to result from dynamo action in the disc plane. However, the increasing importance of Faraday depolarization along any line of sight towards the galactic plane suggests that the strongest polarization signal may come from well above (∼0.3–1 kpc) this plane, from the vicinity of the warm interstellar medium (WIM)/halo interface. We propose (see also Henriksen & Irwin 2016) that the observed spiral fields (polarization patterns) result from the action of vertical shear on an initially poloidal field. We show that this simple model accounts for the main observed properties of large-scale fields. We speculate as to how current models of optical spiral structure may generate the observed arm/interarm spiral polarization patterns.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:1 July 2018
Deposited On:05 Mar 2019 13:24
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 19:39
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sty604

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