The existence of a primordial magnetic field at the last scattering surface may induce a measurable Faraday rotation in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background. We calculate the magnitude of this effect by evolving the radiative transfer equations for the microwave background polarization through the epoch of last scattering, in the presence of a magnetic field. For a primordial field amplitude corresponding to a present value of 1O-9 G (which would account for the observed galactic field if it were frozen in the pregalactic plasma), we find a rotation angle of ∼1° at a frequency of 30 GRz. The statistical detection of this signal will be feasible with future maps of the microwave background.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- September 1996
- COSMOLOGY: COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND;
- COSMOLOGY: THEORY;
- MAGNETIC FIELDS;
- 14 pages AASTeX with 2 embedded postscript figures, 44 kB