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 discipline. Whereas magnetic fields in area are troublesome to measure, a world crew 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 crew’s collaboration, known as QUIJOTE (QUI JOint Tenerife), used two 2.5-meter telescopes to look at the sky within the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Studying extra about our galaxy’s magnetic discipline can present details about star formation, cosmic rays, and lots of different astrophysical processes.

The crew mentioned their work enhances knowledge collected by earlier area missions dedicated to finding out 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 corresponding to Planck and WMAP,” mentioned José Alberto Rubino, chief scientist on the QUIJOTE Collaboration, in a press launch. We’ve got 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 pace of sunshine inside the galaxy’s magnetic discipline. These maps, ensuing from almost 9,000 hours of commentary, are a singular software for finding out magnetism within the universe.”

The magnetic discipline 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 undertaking started in 2012, and the crew has now revealed a sequence of 6 science papers offering essentially the most correct description but of the Milky Means’s emission polarization at microwave wavelengths. The crew defined that polarization is “a property of transverse waves corresponding to gentle waves that determines the course of wave oscillations and is indicative of the presence of a magnetic discipline.”

With the brand new maps, not solely do astronomers have extra detailed details about the construction of the Milky Means’s magnetic discipline, 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 exhibits the course of the magnetic discipline strains. Credit score: Quijote Collaboration.

“Scientific proof signifies that the universe went by a section of fast growth, known as inflation, which is a fraction of a second after the Massive Bang,” Rubino mentioned. “If that is true, we’d anticipate finding some observable outcomes after we examine the polarization of the cosmic microwave background. These anticipated options are troublesome to measure, as a result of they’re small in breadth, but additionally as a result of they’re much much less vibrant than the polarized emission from our galaxy. Nevertheless, if we By lastly measuring it, we are going to achieve oblique details about the bodily circumstances within the very early phases of our universe, when vitality scales have been a lot greater than these we will entry or examine from Earth. This has monumental implications for our understanding of basic physics.”

The brand new maps from QUIJOTE additionally offered new knowledge for finding out the lately detected enhance in microwave emissions from the middle of our galaxy. The origin of this emission is at present unknown, however it could possibly be associated to the decay processes of darkish matter particles.

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

“One of the vital fascinating findings we have now discovered is that the polarized synchrotron emission from our galaxy is way more variable than beforehand thought,” mentioned 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 here are hyperlinks to the six analysis papers revealed within the Month-to-month Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society:

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