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Using low-frequency pulsar observations to study the 3-D structure of the Galactic magnetic field

  • C. Sobey (a1) (a2) and the LOFAR and MWA collaborations

Abstract

The Galactic magnetic field (GMF) plays a role in many astrophysical processes and is a significant foreground to cosmological signals, such as the Epoch of Reionization (EoR), but is not yet well understood. Dispersion and Faraday rotation measurements (DMs and RMs, respectively) towards a large number of pulsars provide an efficient method to probe the three-dimensional structure of the GMF. Low-frequency polarisation observations with large fractional bandwidth can be used to measure precise DMs and RMs. This is demonstrated by a catalogue of RMs (corrected for ionospheric Faraday rotation) from the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), with a growing complementary catalogue in the southern hemisphere from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). These data further our knowledge of the three-dimensional GMF, particularly towards the Galactic halo. Recently constructed or upgraded pathfinder and precursor telescopes, such as LOFAR and the MWA, have reinvigorated low-frequency science and represent progress towards the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will make significant advancements in studies of astrophysical magnetic fields in the future. A key science driver for the SKA-Low is to study the EoR, for which pulsar and polarisation data can provide valuable insights in terms of Galactic foreground conditions.

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Using low-frequency pulsar observations to study the 3-D structure of the Galactic magnetic field

  • C. Sobey (a1) (a2) and the LOFAR and MWA collaborations

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