Submillimeter and Far-Infrared Polarimetric Observations of Magnetic Fields in Star-Forming Regions

Observations of star-forming regions by the current and upcoming generation of submillimeter polarimeters will shed new light on the evolution of magnetic fields over the cloud-to-core size scales involved in the early stages of the star formation process. Recent wide-area and high-sensitivity polarization observations have drawn attention to the challenges of modeling magnetic field structure of star forming regions, due to variations in dust polarization properties in the interstellar medium. However, these observations also for the first time provide sufficient information to begin to break the degeneracy between polarization efficiency variations and depolarization due to magnetic field sub-beam structure, and thus to accurately infer magnetic field properties in the star-forming interstellar medium. In this article we discuss submillimeter and far-infrared polarization observations of star-forming regions made with single-dish instruments. We summarize past, present and forthcoming single-dish instrumentation, and discuss techniques which have been developed or proposed to interpret polarization observations, both in order to infer the morphology and strength of the magnetic field, and in order to determine the environments in which dust polarization observations reliably trace the magnetic field. We review recent polarimetric observations of molecular clouds, filaments, and starless and protostellar cores, and discuss how the application of the full range of modern analysis techniques to recent observations will advance our understanding of the role played by the magnetic field in the early stages of star formation.

posted Apr 13, 2019, 7:09 PM by Shifu RC

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