SKA studies of in situ synchrotron radiation from molecular clouds

C Dickinson, R Beck, R Crocker, R M Crutcher, R D Davies, K Ferrière, Gary Fuller, T R Jaffe, D Jones, Patrick Leahy, E Murphy, M W Peel, E Orlando, T Porter, R J Protheroe, A Strong, T Robishaw, R A Watson, F Yusef-Zadeh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Observations of the properties of dense molecular clouds are critical in understanding the process of star-formation. One of the most important, but least understood, is the role of the magnetic fields. We discuss the possibility of using high-resolution, high-sensitivity radio observations with the SKA to measure for the first time the in-situ synchrotron radiation from these molecular clouds. If the cosmic-ray (CR) particles penetrate clouds as expected, then we can measure the B-field strength directly using radio data. So far, this signature has never been detected from the collapsing clouds themselves and would be a unique probe of the magnetic field. Dense cores are typically ~0.05 pc in size, corresponding to ~arcsec at ~kpc distances, and flux density estimates are ~mJy at 1 GHz. The SKA should be able to readily detect directly, for the first time, along lines-of-sight that are not contaminated by thermal emission or complex foreground/background synchrotron emission. Polarised synchrotron may also be detectable providing additional information about the regular/turbulent fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAdvancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array (AASKA14)
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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