Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Planck Takes Magnetic Fingerprint of Our Galaxy
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 08, 2014

The Planck satellite, a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions.

A new image from the Planck space telescope reveals the magnetic field lines of our Milky Way galaxy. The fingerprint-like map allows astronomers to study the structure of the magnetic field and better understand the process of star formation.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions. Though the mission stopped collecting data in 2013, scientists are still analyzing its huge data sets for more clues to the history of our universe.

In particular, they are looking at polarized light, both from the early universe and from dust in our galaxy as shown in the new map. (Results from the early universe are scheduled to come out later this year.)

"This is the best picture we've ever had of the magnetic field in the Milky Way over such a large part of the sky," said Charles Lawrence, the U.S. Planck project scientist for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Light can be described as a wave of electric and magnetic fields that vibrate in directions at right angles to each other and to their direction of travel. Usually, these fields can vibrate at all orientations. However, if they happen to vibrate preferentially in certain directions, the light is "polarized." This can happen, for example, when light bounces off a reflective surface like a mirror or the sea. Special filters can be used to absorb this polarized light, which is how polarized sunglasses eliminate glare.

In space, the light emitted by stars, gas and dust can also be polarized in various ways that depend on magnetic fields. Consequently, the swirls, loops and arcs in this new image trace the structure of the magnetic field in our home galaxy. Darker regions correspond to stronger polarized emission, and the striations indicate the direction of the magnetic field projected on the plane of the sky. The Planck image shows that there is large-scale organization in some parts of the galactic magnetic field.

The dark band running horizontally across the center corresponds to the galactic plane. The data also reveal variations of the polarization direction within nearby clouds of gas and dust. This can be seen in the tangled features above and below the plane, where the local magnetic field is particularly disorganized.

Planck's galactic polarization data are analyzed in a series of four papers just submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.


Related Links
Planck at NASA
Planck at ESA
Planck at Caltech
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Canada's MOST astronomy mission comes to an end
Longueuil, Canada (SPX) May 06, 2014
After more than ten years of studying the Universe, the Canadian Microvariability and Oscillation of STars (MOST) mission will come to an end on September 9, 2014, having exceeded its objectives. Since its launch in 2003, MOST has produced over one hundred science publications and provided astronomers with new insights into the behaviour of stars. Originally planned as a one-year project, ... read more

Russia to begin Moon colonization in 2030

Astrobotic Partners With NASA To Develop Robotic Lunar Landing Capability

John C. Houbolt, Unsung Hero of the Apollo Program, Dies at Age 95

NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface

Reset and Recovery for Opportunity

NASA wants greenhouse on Mars by 2021

NASA's Curiosity Rover Drills Sandstone Slab on Mars

Mars mission scientist Colin Pillinger dies

More Plant Science as Expedition 39 Trio Trains for Departure

Pioneering Test Pilot Bill Dana Dies at Age 83

NASA Astronauts go underwater to test tools for a mission to an asteroid

'Convergent' Research Solves Problems that Cross Disciplinary Boundaries

New satellite launch center to conduct joint drill

China issues first assessment on space activities

China launches experimental satellite

Tiangong's New Mission

Ham video premiers on Space Station

NASA Seeks to Evolve ISS for New Commercial Opportunities

Astronauts Complete Short Spacewalk to Replace Backup Computer

No Official Confirmation of NASA Severing Ties with Russian Space Agency

Preliminary Injunction Lifted - ULA Purchase of RD-180 Engines Complies with Sanctions

Replacing Russian-made rocket engines is not easy

US sanctions against Russia had no effect on International Launch Services

SHERPA launch service deal to deploy 1200 kilo smallsat payloads

Length of Exoplanet Day Measured for First Time

Spitzer and WISE Telescopes Find Close, Cold Neighbor of Sun

Alien planet's rotation speed clocked for first time

Seven Samples from the Solar System's Birth

High-Strengh Materials from the Pressure Cooker

The pitch drops that got the world talking

New revolutionary sensor links pressure to color change

Element 117, discovered by Laboratory, one step closer to being named

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.