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New 3-D map helps solve long-lasting cosmic mysteries

3-D view of the two clouds where we mapped the magnetic field and their location in the Milky Way. Credit: Aris Tritsis and colleagues, Space Nebula Plugin for Unreal Engine 4, Fabian Fuchs and Linus Fuchs

A new study led by ANU has created a 3D map of the magnetic field in a small wedge of the Milky Way, paving the way for future discoveries that enhance our understanding of the origin and development of the universe.

Researcher Dr Aris Tritsis from ANU's research school for astronomy and astrophysics (RSAA) said that this was the first study to tomographically measure the strength of our galaxy's magnetic field.

"Our work paves the way for future discoveries regarding the development of the Milky Way, the formation of stars and planets, and the early stages of our universe," said Dr Tritsis, who collaborated with RSAA colleague Professor Federrath and associate professor Vasiliki Pavlidou of Crete University.

The galaxy's magnetic field and cosmic dust act as a veil that conceals the radiation from the early stages of our universe ̵

1; known as cosmic microwave oven background – and has prevented scientists from testing cosmological models for the evolution of the universe.

For comparison, 15 μG (micro Gauss) commonly measured in the interstellar medium – as shown in the picture above – is 10 million times smaller than the strength of a cooling magnet. Despite the small value and because it extends tens of hundreds of light years, it is extremely important for any process mentioned in this article.

"We are now able to map the strength of the magnetic field for all regions of our galaxy, which enable us to better understand the evolution of the universe," says Dr Tritsis.

"The current work is evidence that such an ambitious study is feasible. Our next step is to create the first complete 3-D map of the galaxy's magnetic field and study all other astrophysical processes that depend on it." 19659005] Associate Professor Federrath said the team discovered that the galaxy's strength was much higher than previously thought.

"Most models that predict the strength of our galaxy's magnetic field for each location and distance from the sun are based on observations that cannot distinguish the magnetic field in three dimensions," he says.

Docent Pavlidou said the study was an important step in understand how cosmetic rays extend through our galaxies.

Cosmic rays are very energetic particles, some with energies that are much higher than human accelerators can reach.

"Understanding the magnetic field structure and strength We can increase our chances to find the places for the sources of these extremely energetic particles and we can seek new physics at extreme energies, she says.

The research is published in The Astrophysical Journal .

Explore further:
Galactic wind gives clues to the development of galaxies

More information:
Aris Tritsis et al. The magnetic field Tomography in two clouds against Ursa Major using H in fibers, The astrophysical journal (2019). DOI: 10.3847 / 1538-4357 / ab037d

Journal reference:
Astrophysical magazine

Provided by:
Australian National University

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