DJp.2.01 — How do galaxies get their magnetic fields?

Date & Time

Aug 10th at 6:00 PM until 6:00 PM




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Author(s): Alexander Beck1, Klaus Dolag1, Harald Lesch1

Institution(s): 1. University Observatory Munich

The origin of magnetic fields in high-redshift and present-day galaxies is a long-standing problem. In this talk, we present a model for the seeding and evolution of magnetic fields in protogalaxies. Supernova (SN) explosions during the assembly of a protogalaxy self-consistently provide magnetic seed fields, which are subsequently amplified by compression, shear flows and random motions.
Our model explains the origin of strong magnetic fields of $\mu$G amplitude within the first starforming protogalactic structures shortly after the first stars have formed.
We present cosmological simulations with the GADGET code of Milky Way-like galactic halo formation using a standard LCDM cosmology and analyse the strength and distribution of the evolving magnetic field.
Within starforming regions and given typical dimensions and magnetic field strengths in canonical SN remnants, we inject a dipole-shape magnetic field at a rate of nG/Gyr. Subsequently, the magnetic field strength increases exponentially on timescales of a few ten million years within the innermost regions of the halo.
Furthermore, turbulent diffusion, shocks and gas motions transport the magnetic field towards the halo outskirts. At redshift z=0, the entire galactic structures are magnetized and the field amplitude is of the order of a few microG in the center of the halo and nG at the virial radius. Additionally, we analyse the intrinsic rotation measure (RM) of the forming galactic halo over redshift. The mean halo intrinsic RM peaks between redshifts z=4 and z=2 and reaches absolute values around 1000 rad/m^2. Towards redshift z=0, the intrinsic RM values decline to a mean value below 10 rad/m^2. At high redshifts, the distribution of individual starforming and thus magnetized regions is widespread leading to a widespread distribution of large intrinsic RMs. Our model for the evolution of galactic magnetic fields solves the joint problem of magnetic field seeding and subsequent amplification and distribution. The magnetic fields in galaxies are a direct consequence of the very basic processes of star and galaxy formation.