Today’s ‘Insight’ –Magnetic Fields of Galaxies: “A Million Times Weaker Than That of Earth”

 

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The magnetic field of a distant galaxy shown above is estimated to be much the same strength and configuration as that of the Milky Way – evidence suggesting magnetic fields form while galaxies are young and remain relatively stable.


“This means that magnetism is generated very early in a galaxy’s life by natural processes, and thus that almost every heavenly body is magnetic,” says co-author Bryan Gaensler of the University of Toronto. “The implication is that we need to understand magnetism to understand the universe.”

Despite being very large things, galaxies have extremely weak magnetic fields. The entire Milky Way, for instance, has a magnetic field more than a million times weaker than that of the Earth.

The middle one of the three blobs in the Hubble Space Telescope image above is the galaxy in which a magnetic field has been detected. The other two are gravitationally lensed images of a single quasar that provided the magnetic field measurement.

The Daily Galaxy via Cosmos

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