Measuring magnetism in the Milky Way with the Square Kilometre Array

M Haverkorn, T Akahori, E Carretti, K Ferrière, P Frick, B Gaensler, G Heald, M Johnston-Hollitt, D Jones, T Landecker, S A Mao, A Noutsos, N Oppermann, W Reich, T Robishaw, A Scaife, D Schnitzeler, R Stepanov, X Sun, R Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Magnetic fields in the Milky Way are present on a wide variety of sizes and strengths, influencing many processes in the Galactic ecosystem such as star formation, gas dynamics, jets, and evolution of supernova remnants or pulsar wind nebulae. Observation methods are complex and indirect; the most used of these are a grid of rotation measures of unresolved polarized extragalactic sources, and broadband polarimetry of diffuse emission. Current studies of magnetic fields in the Milky Way reveal a global spiral magnetic field with a significant turbulent component; the limited sample of magnetic field measurements in discrete objects such as supernova remnants and HII regions shows a wide variety in field configurations; a few detections of magnetic fields in Young Stellar Object jets have been published; and the magnetic field structure in the Galactic Center is still under debate. The SKA will unravel the 3D structure and configurations of magnetic fields in the Milky Way on sub-parsec to galaxy scales, including field structure in the Galactic Center. The global configuration of the Milky Way disk magnetic field, probed through pulsar RMs, will resolve controversy about reversals in the Galactic plane. Characteristics of interstellar turbulence can be determined from the grid of background RMs. We expect to learn to understand magnetic field structures in protostellar jets, supernova remnants, and other discrete sources, due to the vast increase in sample sizes possible with the SKA. This knowledge of magnetic fields in the Milky Way will not only be crucial in understanding of the evolution and interaction of Galactic structures, but will also help to define and remove Galactic foregrounds for a multitude of extragalactic and cosmological studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAdvancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array (AASKA14)
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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