S315p.04 — A supernova scenario for magnetic fields and rotation measures in galaxies

Date & Time

Aug 4th 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

We present a model for the seeding and evolution of magnetic fields in protogalaxies. Supernova SN explosions during the assembly of a protogalaxy 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 microG amplitude within the first starforming protogalactic structures shortly after onset of star formation. We implement the model into the MHD version of the cosmological N-body / SPH simulation code GADGET and we couple the magnetic seeding directly to the underlying multi-phase description of star formation. We perform simulations of Milky Way-like galactic halo formation using a standard LCDM cosmology and analyse the strength and distribution of the subsequent 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 halo is 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.
While the halo virializes 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. This leads to a widespread distribution of large intrinsic RM values. In our model, galactic magnetic fields are a consequence of the star formation process naturally occuring during galaxy formation. SN explosions provide magnetic seed fields, which are amplified and distribution by the very process of galaxy formation.