The Magnetic Fields of the Galactic Center

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 - 3:30pm PST
Mark Morris
N232, room 103
Event Type: 

Several independent lines of evidence reveal that a relatively strong and highly ordered magnetic field interacts strongly with the gas and dust in the Galaxy’s central molecular zone (CMZ).  The field probably also has an important effect on both the dynamics and the thermal balance of the warm molecular clouds in the CMZ.  The predominantly poloidal intercloud field organizes the plasma and the gas of cosmic ray particles, leading to vertical features of both thermal and nonthermal character.  Recent observations with the VLA indicate that violent events at the center are locally deforming the magnetic field geometry.  I’ll discuss existing models for the nonthermal radio filaments that delineate the magnetic field lines throughout much of the CMZ, as well as current models for the origins of the dipole field.  The HAWC+ instrument on SOFIA is poised to add considerably to our knowledge of the magnetic field inside molecular clouds in the CMZ, and those results will be very complementary to ongoing radio continuum observations.  

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