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The Magnetic Field in M51 and NGC 891
Wednesday, February 03, 2021 - 9:00am PST
University of Minnesota
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The role of magnetic fields in galaxies on scales of hundreds of parsecs is poorly understood. While radio synchrotron observations of cosmic ray electrons can probe the field geometry in regions of low density above the disk of a normal galaxy, Far Infrared observations of polarized emission from dust are sensitive to the denser regions deep in the spiral arms. HAWC+ in polarimetry mode on SOFIA provides a unique tool for studying the magnetic field geometry in external galaxies that can not be duplicated from the ground, nor from balloons at wavelengths shorter than 200 microns. Here we report HAWC+ observations of two relatively normal spiral galaxies, M51 (a face-on galaxy) and NGC 891 (an edge-on galaxy). In M51 we explore systematic departures of the magnetic field from the spiral pattern seen in dust emission and in NGC 891 we search for evidence for vertical fields stretching out of the disk into the Halo.