Tracing the ISM magnetic field morphology: the potential of multi-wavelength polarization measurements
Aims: We present a case study to demonstrate the potential of multi-wavelength polarization measurements. The aim is to investigate the effects that dichroic polarization and thermal re-emission have on tracing the magnetic field in the interstellar medium (ISM). Furthermore, we analyze the crucial influence of imperfectly aligned compact dust grains on the resulting synthetic continuum polarization maps.
Methods: We developed an extended version of the well-known 3D Monte-Carlo radiation transport code MC3D for multi-wavelength polarization simulations running on an adaptive grid. We investigated the interplay between radiation, magnetic fields and dust grains. Our results were produced by post-processing both ideal density distributions and sophisticated magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) collapse simulations with radiative transfer simulations. We derived spatially resolved maps of intensity, optical depth, and linear and circular polarization at various inclination angles and scales in a wavelength range from 7 μm to 1 mm.
Results: We predict unique patterns in linear and circular polarization maps for different types of density distributions and magnetic field morphologies for test setups and sophisticated MHD collapse simulations. We show that alignment processes of interstellar dust grains can significantly influence the resulting synthetic polarization maps. Multi-wavelength polarization measurements allow one to predict the morphology of the magnetic field inside the ISM. The interpretation of polarization measurements of complex structures still remains ambiguous because of the large variety of the predominant parameters in the ISM.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- June 2014
- techniques: polarimetric;
- methods: numerical;
- radiative transfer;
- ISM: magnetic fields;
- ISM: structure;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 14 pages, 12 figures, 1 table, Paper accepted 2014 by A&