iCons: Studying the Magnetic Fields of Nearby Spiral Galaxies

Problem Title

iCons: Studying the Magnetic Fields of Nearby Spiral Galaxies

Scientific Title

iCons: Studying the Magnetic Fields of Nearby Spiral Galaxies

Student: 
Dylan Pare
Major(s): 
Astronomy
iCons Concentration: 
Renewable Energy
iCons Class Year: 
Class of 2017
Executive Summary 

Faraday Rotation Measure Synthesis (Rm-Synthesis) enables highly detailed studies of extragalactic magnetism. This technique analyzes the amount by which polarized emission from background sources located behind an imaged galaxy is rotated while passing through the magnetized plasma with the galaxy's disk and halo. This rotation of the polarized light is known as a Rotation Measure (RM), and the value and sign of the RM contains information regarding the magnitude and orientation of the magnetic field in the region of the galaxy the light passes through. Continuing the work of the CHANG-ES collaboration (Continuum HAlos in Nearby Galaxies -- an EVLA Survey), we have incorporated this technique in our study of NGC 3044, finding a map of RMs that extends approximately 5 kpc away from the plane of the galactic disk. We are able to map the magnetic field of the galaxy well into its halo as a result of this extensive RM map, and our map of the galaxy's magnetic field is in agreement with previous results published by the CHANG-ES collaboration. In addition, we detect three field reversals in our mapping of RMs through this technique -- one that occurs above the galactic plane, one that occurs below the galactic plane, and one that occurs as the magnetic field passes through the plane of the galactic disk.

Problem Keywords: 
extragalactic magnetism
Scientific Keywords: 
Faraday Rotation Measure Synthesis (Rm-Synthesis)