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Magnetic fields in a sample of nearby spiral galaxies

Lookup NU author(s): Cameron Van Eck, Professor Anvar Shukurov, Dr Andrew Fletcher

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Abstract

Both observations and modeling ofmagnetic fields in the diffuse interstellar gas of spiral galaxies arewell developed, but the theory has been confronted with observations for only a handful of individual galaxies. There is nowsufficient data to consider the statistical properties of galactic magnetic fields. We have collected data from the literature on the magnetic fields and interstellar media of 20 spiral galaxies, and tested for various physically motivated correlations between magnetic field and interstellar medium parameters. Clear correlations emerge between the total magnetic field strength and molecular gas density as well as the star formation rate. The magnetic pitch angle exhibits correlations with the total gas density, the star formation rate, and the strength of the axisymmetric component of the mean magnetic field. The total and mean magnetic field strengths exhibit a noticeable degree of correlation, suggesting a universal behavior of the degree of order in galactic magnetic fields. We also compare the predictions of galactic dynamo theory to observed magnetic field parameters and identify directions in which theory and observations might be usefully developed.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Van Eck CL, Brown JC, Shukurov A, Fletcher A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Astrophysical Journal

Year: 2015

Volume: 799

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 20/01/2015

Online publication date: 14/01/2015

Acceptance date: 05/11/2014

ISSN (print): 0004-637X

ISSN (electronic): 1538-4357

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing, Inc.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/35

DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/35


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