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Physics Colloquium: Cornelia C. Lang
April 4 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Title: High Resolution Observations of Magnetic Fields in the Central Molecular Zone of the Galactic Center
Abstract: In addition to harboring a supermassive black hole at its very core, the Galactic center is one of the most physically extreme environments in the Galaxy. Dense and massive molecular clouds on non-circular orbits are abundant in this region, yet star formation is not as active and frequent as expected. In addition, radio observations have revealed a population of synchrotron-emitting filaments that provide insight on the magnetic field strength and configuration in this unique region of the Galaxy. I will describe observations that have revealed the detailed structure of these synchrotron-emitting radio filaments using radio interferometers such as the Very Large Array and the Australia Telescope Compact Array. In these observations, we examine the total radio intensity, the radio polarization, the rotation measure and intrinsic magnetic field properties to try to better understand the origin and nature of these unusual magnetic structures and their connection to the magnetic field in the Galaxy. In addition, we have been exploring the connection of the non-thermal filaments to larger-scale energetic outflows from the Galactic center. Our relative proximity to the Galactic center provides an unprecedented view of the magnetic field in our galactic core and studies of this region can be used as an astrophysical analog to understanding the nuclei of more distant galaxies.
Host: Karen Daniels