Astronomers have discovered signs of the largest magnetic fields in the universe: ScienceAlert

The universe is full of magnetic fields. Although the universe is electrically neutral, atoms can ionize into positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons.

When these charges are accelerated, they create magnetic fields. One of the most common sources of magnetic fields on large scales comes from collisions between and within interstellar plasma. This is one of the main sources of magnetic fields for magnetic fields on a galactic scale.

But magnetic fields must also exist on larger scales. On the largest scale of the universe, matter is distributed in a structure known as the cosmic web. Large clusters of galaxies separated by barren voids, like clusters of soapy water among a vast region of soap bubbles. Thin filaments of intergalactic material stretch between these giant clusters, forming a cosmic web of matter.

Much of this lattice is ionized, so it should create vast but faint intergalactic magnetic fields. At least that is the theory. Astronomers have not been able to observe these magnetic fields on the Internet. But the New study He made their first discoveries.

We cannot directly detect magnetic fields billions of light years away. Instead, we observe it through its effect on charged particles. As electrons and other particles orbit along magnetic field lines, they emit radio light.

By mapping this radio signal, astronomers can map the galaxy’s magnetic fields. But the filaments of the cosmic web are so spread out that the radio light they emit is very faint. Too faint to be easily detected. And since nearby galaxies create stronger radio signals, the web signal can be dampened by galactic radio noise.

See also  NASA Says 'Something Strange Is Happening' With The Universe

To overcome this challenge, the team focused on polarized radio light. These are radio emissions that have a specific orientation. Because the direction is related to the general direction of the filament, the team can easily pull this signal from the cosmic radio background.

They used data from all-sky radio maps such as the Global Magneto-Ionic Medium Survey, Planck Legacy Archive, Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array, and Murchison Widefield Array. By stacking this data and comparing it to maps of the webcomic, the team confirmed the polarized radio signal emitted by the webcomic.

Not only is this finding the first detection of magnetic fields in the cosmic web, it is also strong evidence supporting the existence of collisional shock waves within intergalactic filaments.

These shock waves have been seen in computer simulations of cosmic structures, but this is the first evidence to support the idea that these simulation features are accurate.

This article was originally published by the universe today. Read the The original article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *