Our solar system is encapsulated in a gigantic “magnetic tunnel” connecting two vast regions of our galaxy that seemed disconnected.
This is the conclusion of a recent study in the field of magnetic fields of the cosmos, a feature of our universe about which there are still many unanswered questions.
This discovery by a team from the University of Toronto may be useful in better understanding how the magnetic fields of the universe work and how they affect the behavior and evolution galaxies.
“This model has implications for the development of a holistic model of magnetic fields in galaxies,” the study authors write.
What was the discovery and how can it help improve our understanding of the universe?
The investigation focused on two gigantic structures in our Milky Way.
One is the north polar spur and the other is the fan region.
The North Polar Spur is a huge band of hot gas It emits X-rays and radio waves.
For its part, the Abanico Region is an area highly polarizedwhose electric field opens in the form of a fan.
Both regions are visible through radio telescopes and, from Earth, are located in opposite sides from space.
Until now, these two structures had been studied individually, but work from the University of Toronto shows for the first time that they are connected by a tunnelin which our solar system is located.
“Magnetic Fields They do not exist in isolation.Jennifer West, an expert researcher in galaxy magnetism at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Physics and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
“Everyone needs to connect with each other. So the next step is to better understand how this local magnetic field connects to both the larger scale galactic magnetic field and the smaller scale magnetic fields of our Sun and Earth.”
The magnetic field of galaxies
Every galaxy has a natural magnetic field, but it is weakaccording to Christopher S. Bair, professor of physics at West Texas A&M University.
“Our galaxy’s magnetic field is about 100 times weaker than Earth’s magnetic field,” writes Bair on the Science Questions With Surprising Answers blog.
The magnetic field of a galaxy is created in a way similar to how the Earth’s magnetic field is created: through the dynamic effect.
The rotation of the galaxy causes interstellar gas charged with charged particles to move. In this way the kinetic energy of moving particles creates a magnetic field.
This magnetic field, in turn, acts on the charged particles, thereby amplifying the magnetic field.
To discover this “tunnel,” West and his colleagues ran simulations of what space would look like from Earth if radio waves from the north polar spur and fan region emit light.
In this way, they realized that the two regions are connected by magnetic filament structures.
“If we could see radio light (waves), we would see this glowing material stretching across the sky in many different directions,” West told CBS.
West refers to a complex system of charged particles and magnetic filaments, which form a kind of tunnel that surrounds the solar system and some outer stars.
According to West’s calculations, this tunnel would be about 1,000 light-years long.
inside the tunnel
According to the authors of the research, their findings could be used to better understand other filament structures increasingly observed by researchers. modern radio telescopes.
“We still don’t fully understand origin and evolution regular magnetic fields in galaxies and how these fields are maintained,” they write in their study.
“Imagine that we are sitting inside a tunnel…and the rest of the galaxy is outside of that tunnel, and the rest of the universe is outside of that tunnel. But we are insideWest told CBC.
“Because we are indoors, we have to walk through it all the time. I think this is a very important first step in understanding the larger universe,” West concludes.