Presentation Archive

The Magnetic Field of the Milky Way – A Canadian Perspective

Jo-Anne Brown (University of Calgary)

December 01, 2014

Abstract: Magnetic fields are an important constituent in the interstellar medium, but unlike gas, dust, and cosmic rays, they do not radiate, and consequently cannot be observed directly. Instead, observers identify signatures of the field in an effort to piece together its topology. Determining key parameters such as the number and location of magnetic field reversals (regions of magnetic shear where the field is observed to reverse directions by roughly 180 degrees with radius), the pitch angle of the magnetic field, and how the field correlates with the other components of the interstellar medium, are critical in order to determine the most likely models of how the field originally formed, and how it is evolving. In this talk, I will review the current status of what is known (or perhaps, what we think we know), what remains highly contentious, and how the work we have done so far is shaping future studies of cosmic magnetism.