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Title:
Detection of an ˜20 kpc coherent magnetic field in the outskirt of merging spirals: the Antennae galaxies
Authors:
Basu, Aritra; Mao, S. A.; Kepley, Amanda A.; Robishaw, Timothy; Zweibel, Ellen G.; Gallagher, John. S., III
Affiliation:
AA(Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany ), AB(Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany), AC(National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475, USA), AD(National Research Council Canada, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Programs, Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, Penticton, BC V2A 6J9, Canada), AE(Department of Astronomy and Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706, USA), AF(Department of Astronomy and Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706, USA)
Publication:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 464, Issue 1, p.1003-1017 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
01/2017
Origin:
CROSSREF; OUP
Astronomy Keywords:
galaxies: ISM, galaxies: magnetic fields
Abstract Copyright:
2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
DOI:
10.1093/mnras/stw2369
Bibliographic Code:
2017MNRAS.464.1003B

Abstract

We present a study of the magnetic field properties of NGC 4038/9 (the `Antennae' galaxies), the closest example of a late stage merger of two spiral galaxies. Wideband polarimetric observations were performed using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array between 2 and 4 GHz. Rotation measure synthesis and Faraday depolarization analysis was performed to probe the magnetic field strength and structure at spatial resolution of ˜1 kpc. Highly polarized emission from the southern tidal tail is detected with intrinsic fractional polarization close to the theoretical maximum (0.62 ± 0.18), estimated by fitting the Faraday depolarization with a volume that is both synchrotron emitting and Faraday rotating containing random magnetic fields. Magnetic fields are well aligned along the tidal tail and the Faraday depths shows large-scale smooth variations preserving its sign. This suggests the field in the plane of the sky to be regular up to ˜20 kpc, which is the largest detected regular field structure on galactic scales. The equipartition field strength of ˜ 8.5 muG of the regular field in the tidal tail is reached within a few 100 Myr, likely generated by stretching of the galactic disc field by a factor of 4-9 during the tidal interaction. The regular field strength is greater than the turbulent fields in the tidal tail. Our study comprehensively demonstrates, although the magnetic fields within the merging bodies are dominated by strong turbulent magnetic fields of ˜ 20 muG in strength, tidal interactions can produce large-scale regular field structure in the outskirts.
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