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Title: Using red clump stars to decompose the galactic magnetic field with distance

A new method for measuring the large-scale structure of the Galactic magnetic field is presented. The Galactic magnetic field has been probed through the Galactic disk with near-infrared starlight polarimetry; however, the distance to each background star is unknown. Using red clump stars as near-infrared standard candles, this work presents the first attempt to decompose the line-of-sight structure of the sky-projected Galactic magnetic field. Two example lines of sight are decomposed: toward a field with many red clump stars and toward a field with few red clump stars. A continuous estimate of magnetic field orientation over several kiloparsecs of distance is possible in the field with many red clump stars, while only discrete estimates are possible in the sparse example. Toward the outer Galaxy, there is a continuous field orientation with distance that shows evidence of perturbation by the Galactic warp. Toward the inner Galaxy, evidence for a large-scale change in the magnetic field geometry is consistent with models of magnetic field reversals, independently derived from Faraday rotation studies. A photo-polarimetric method for identifying candidate intrinsically polarized stars is also presented. The future application of this method to large regions of the sky will begin the process of mapping themore » Galactic magnetic field in a way never before possible.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Astronomy, The University of Texas at Austin, 2515 Speedway, C1402, Austin, TX 78712 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22342267
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 148; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DISTANCE; DISTURBANCES; FARADAY EFFECT; GALAXIES; MAGNETIC FIELD REVERSAL; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NEAR INFRARED RADIATION; ORIENTATION; PERTURBATION THEORY; POLARIMETRY; SKY; STARS