You are looking at a map of the magnetic field of the Milky Way

Utilizing telescopes that examine the sky within the microwave a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, astronomers have succeeded in mapping the construction of the Milky Means’s magnetic area. Whereas magnetic fields in area are tough to measure, a world workforce of astronomers used the Teide Observatory in Tenerife within the Canary Islands to conduct 10 years of observations.

Ted Observatory. Credit score: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.

The workforce’s collaboration, referred to as QUIJOTE (QUI JOint Tenerife), used two 2.5-meter telescopes to watch the sky within the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Studying extra about our galaxy’s magnetic area can present details about star formation, cosmic rays, and plenty of different astrophysical processes.

The workforce stated their work enhances information collected by earlier area missions dedicated to learning cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), the fossil radiation left over from the Massive Bang, which has given detailed perception into the early historical past of the universe.

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“These new maps present detailed description in a brand new frequency vary, from 10 to 40 GHz, complementing these from area missions resembling Planck and WMAP,” stated José Alberto Rubino, chief scientist on the QUIJOTE Collaboration, in a press launch. Now we have characterised the synchrotron emission from our galaxy with unprecedented precision. This radiation is brought on by the emission of charged particles transferring at speeds near the velocity of sunshine inside the galaxy’s magnetic area. These maps, ensuing from almost 9,000 hours of remark, are a novel instrument for learning magnetism within the universe.”

The magnetic area of the Milky Means as seen by the European Area Company’s Planck satellite tv for pc. Credit score: ESA and Planck Collaboration.

Work on this mapping mission started in 2012, and the workforce has now printed a sequence of 6 science papers offering essentially the most correct description but of the Milky Means’s emission polarization at microwave wavelengths. The workforce defined that polarization is “a property of transverse waves resembling mild waves that determines the route of wave oscillations and is indicative of the presence of a magnetic area.”

With the brand new maps, not solely do astronomers have extra detailed details about the construction of the Milky Means’s magnetic area, however their findings additionally assist perceive the energetic processes that occurred close to the start of the universe.

Polarized microwave emission was measured by QUIJOTE. The overlapping line sample reveals the route of the magnetic area traces. Credit score: Quijote Collaboration.

“Scientific proof signifies that the universe went via a section of speedy growth, referred to as inflation, which is a fraction of a second after the Massive Bang,” Rubino stated. “If that is true, we might anticipate finding some observable outcomes after we examine the polarization of the cosmic microwave background. These anticipated options are tough to measure, as a result of they’re small in breadth, but in addition as a result of they’re much much less vivid than the polarized emission from our galaxy. Nevertheless, if we By lastly measuring it, we are going to achieve oblique details about the bodily situations within the very early levels of our universe, when power scales had been a lot larger than these we are able to entry or examine from Earth. This has monumental implications for our understanding of elementary physics.”

The brand new maps from QUIJOTE additionally offered new information for learning the just lately detected enhance in microwave emissions from the middle of our galaxy. The origin of this emission is presently unknown, but it surely might be associated to the decay processes of darkish matter particles.

As well as, information from the QUIJOTE collaboration permit scientists to review greater than 700 sources of radio and microwave emissions, each of galactic and extragalactic origin, that means that the info helps scientists decipher indicators coming from outdoors our galaxy, together with the cosmic microwave background. radiation.

“One of the attention-grabbing findings we’ve got discovered is that the polarized synchrotron emission from our galaxy is way more variable than beforehand thought,” stated Elena de la Hoz, a researcher on the Instituto Fesica de Cantabria (IFCA). “Our outcomes are a reference to assist future experiments make dependable detections of CMB signaling.

Listed below are hyperlinks to the six analysis papers printed within the Month-to-month Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society:

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