The local radio sky: high frequency-resolution single-dish studies of polarised Galactic synchrotron emission around 1.4 GHz.

  • Indy Leclercq

Student thesis: Phd


Polarised synchrotron emission from the Milky Way is of interest for its role as a foreground to the polarised CMB and as a probe of the interstellar medium. The Galactic ALFA Continuum Transit Survey (GALFACTS) and the Global Magneto-Ionic Medium Survey (GMIMS) are two ongoing surveys of the diffuse polarised emission around 1.4 GHz, with wide bandwidths and high frequency-resolution. In this thesis, I use early data from GALFACTS to investigate the behaviour of polarised, diffuse Galactic synchrotron emission. I also analyse GMIMS total intensity data. I derive a rotation measure (RM) map of the GALFACTS sky using a combination of RM-synthesis and linear angle fitting, commenting on the structure of the maps in general and on specific regions in particular. Overall I find that the maps are rich in features, and probe the RM structure of the extended Galactic emission with reasonable accuracy. I also derive the Angular Power Spectrum (APS) of the polarised emission for thirty-one 15 by 15 degree subregions across the GALFACTS data. I compute the E- and B-modes (E+B) and the scalar APS of the polarised emission (PI). I parametrise the APS by fitting a power law to the data. Comparing the E+B APS to the PI APS shows that E+B is consistently steeper across the sky. The APS data is also used to estimate the level of foreground contamination of the CMB B-mode by the synchrotron emission. I find that the slope of the APS averaged over high-latitude, low-emission subregions agrees exactly with that of the Planck 30 GHz polarised emission, thus setting an upper limit to the synchrotron contamination of CMB B-modes. Finally, I evaluate the spurious, systematic, temperature zero-level offset and associated uncertainty in preliminary GMIMS total intensity maps, finding a lower limit of ±0.26 K. I also make spectral index maps made using the GMIMS data and the Haslam et al. (1982) 408 MHz map, improving upon previous spectral index maps in the literature.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaddy Leahy (Supervisor) & Clive Dickinson (Supervisor)


  • interstellar medium
  • arecibo
  • rotation measure
  • faraday rotation
  • CMB foreground
  • milky way
  • synchrotron emission
  • angular power spectrum
  • radio astronomy

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