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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350 $\mu$m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200 $\mu$m images will also have a factor $\sim $30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
We report about first results of the RoboPol project. RoboPol is a large-sample, high-cadence, polarimetric monitoring program of blazars in optical wavelengths, using a camera specifically constructed for this project, mounted at the University of Crete's Skinakas Observatory 1.3 m telescope. The analysis of RoboPol data is conducted in conjunction with Fermi LAT gamma-ray data, and multifrequency radio data from the OVRO (Caltech), F-GAMMA (MPIfR), and Torun (NCU) monitoring programs. Using carefully selected samples of gamma-ray bright and weak blazars we investigate a connection between their optical polarization behaviour and variability properties in gamma. We examine a relationship of gamma flares with polarization angle rotations relying on robust statistical criteria. We analyse also the optical polarization variability itself in order to establish some restrictions on physical models of blazars jets.
Polarimetry at far-infrared wavelengths is a key tool for studying physical processes on size scales ranging from interstellar dust grains to entire galaxies. A multi-wavelength continuum polarimeter at these wavelengths will allow studies of thermal dust polarization in an effort to constrain the grains’ physical properties and test grain alignment theory. High spatial resolution (5–30 arcsec) and sensitive observations will measure the influence of magnetic fields on infrared cirrus clouds, the envelopes and disks of YSOs, outflows from both low- and high-mass star forming regions, and the relative strength of magnetic, gravitational, and turbulent effects in star- and cloud-formation.
Nearby dwarf galaxies exhibit tight correlations between their global stellar and dynamical properties, such as circular velocity, mass-to-light ratio, stellar mass, surface brightness, and metallicity. Such correlations have often been attributed to gas or metal-rich outflows driven by supernova energy feedback to the interstellar medium. We use high-resolution cosmological simulations of high-redshift galaxies with and without energy feedback, as well as analytic modeling, to investigate whether the observed correlations can arise without supernova-driven outflows. We find that the simulated dwarf galaxies exhibit correlations similar to those observed as early as z ≈ 10 and the addition of realistic levels of supernova energy feedback has no appreciable effect on these correlations. We also show that the correlations can be well reproduced by our analytic model that accounts for gas inflow but without outflows, and star formation rate obeying the Kennicutt-Schmidt law with a critical density threshold. We argue that correlations in simulated galaxies arise due to the increasingly inefficient conversion of gas into stars in low-mass dwarf galaxies rather than supernova-driven outflows.
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