Magnetic Field of our Milky Way Galaxy and the Magellanic Bridge

Milky Way galaxy’s magnetic field. Image by Planck satellite 2014 via ESA/ Planck/ APOD.

From EarthSky.Org:

Scientists have found a magnetic bridge between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. They’re calling it the Magellanic Bridge.

This eye-catching image depicts the magnetic field of our own Milky Way galaxy. We don’t often think about our galaxy’s magnetic field, do we? Or a magnetic bridge between galaxies? Well, EarthSky has posted a story about the newly-dubbed Magellanic Bridge, a magnetic bridge between two galaxies. These are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, satellites to our galaxy. No, the image above is not the bridge, which cannot be imaged at this time.

Jane Kaczmarek is a doctoral student at the University of Sydney, and she’s lead author of the paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. EarthSky quotes her:

‘The observation of the magnetic field, which is one millionth the strength of the Earth’s, may provide insight into whether it was generated from within the Bridge after the structure formed, or was ‘ripped’ from the dwarf galaxies when they interacted and formed the structure.’

‘In general, we don’t know how such vast magnetic fields are generated, nor how these large-scale magnetic fields affect galaxy formation and evolution … Understanding the role that magnetic fields play in the evolution of galaxies and their environment is a fundamental question in astronomy that remains to be answered.’

For the full story, please follow the link to EarthSky.