Rotation Measures of Extragalactic Sources Behind the Southern Galactic Plane: New Insights into the Large-scale Magnetic Field of the Inner Milky Way
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Brown, JC and Haverkorn, M and Gaensler, BM and Taylor, AR and Bizunok, NS and McClure-Griffiths, NM and Dickey, JM and Green, AJ, Rotation Measures of Extragalactic Sources Behind the Southern Galactic Plane: New Insights into the Large-scale Magnetic Field of the Inner Milky Way, The Astrophysical Journal, 663, (1) pp. 258-266. ISSN 0004-637X (2007) [Refereed Article]
We present new Faraday rotation measures (RMs) for 148 extragalactic radio sources behind the southern Galactic plane (253° ≤ l ≤ 356°, |b| ≤ 1.5°), and use these data in combination with published data to probe the large-scale structure of the Milky Way's magnetic field. We show that the magnitudes of these RMs oscillate with longitude in a manner that correlates with the locations of the Galactic spiral arms. The observed pattern in RMs requires the presence of at least one large-scale magnetic reversal in the fourth Galactic quadrant, located between the Sagittarius-Carina and Scutum-Crux spiral arms. To quantitatively compare our measurements to other recent studies, we consider all available extragalactic and pulsar RMs in the region we have surveyed, and jointly fit these data to simple models in which the large-scale field follows the spiral arms. In the best-fitting model, the magnetic field in the fourth Galactic quadrant is directed clockwise in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm (as viewed from the north Galactic pole), but is oriented counterclockwise in the Scutum-Crux arm. This contrasts with recent analyses of pulsar RMs alone, in which the fourth-quadrant field was presumed to be directed counterclockwise in the Sagittarius-Carina arm. Also in contrast to recent pulsar RM studies, our joint modeling of pulsar and extragalactic RMs demonstrates that large numbers of large-scale magnetic field reversals are not required to account for observations. © 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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