Magnetic Fields in Disks and Halos of Spiral Galaxies

Rainer Beck
1991 Symposium - International astronomical union  
Spiral galaxies host interstellar magnetic fields of 4-15 μG total strength. A significant fraction of the field lines shows large-scale structures. At face-on or moderately inclined view, the field lines run generally parallel to the spiral arms, either with uniform direction with respect to azimuthal angle (axisymmetric spiral, ASS), with one reversal along azimuthal angle (bisymmetric spiral, BSS), or with spiral orientation without dominating direction.At edge-on view, the field is
more » ... e field is concentrated in a thin disk, often surrounded by a thick radio disk with field lines mostly parallel to the plane, similar to the quadrupole-type dynamo field. Radio polarization data from NGC891 indicate that the thermal gas seen in Hα is responsible for Faraday depolarization. The required scaleheight of the field of ~4 kpc is comparable to the value expected in case of energy equipartition between magnetic fields and cosmic rays. The interacting edge-on galaxy NGC 4631 shows a much larger radio halo with field lines perpendicular to the disk, possibly driven by a strong galactic wind or the result of a dipole-type halo field.Field lines bending out of the plane are also visible in face-on galaxies as regions with high rotation measures and low star-formation activity. The resemblance to the phenomenon of the solar corona suggests to call them "galactic coronal holes".
doi:10.1017/s0074180900089166 fatcat:ghtpsoo6qff4dn2xz6vpeu3eye