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Galaxy's Magnetic Fields Revealed to be Key to Star Creation


M33-Triangulum Galaxy


Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have, for the first time, measured the alignment of magnetic fields in gigantic clouds of gas and dust in  the Triangulum Galaxy M33, which presented the astronomers with a bird’s eye view of its disk. The pink blobs are regions containing newly formed stars. Their results suggest that such magnetic fields play a key role in channeling matter to form denser clouds, and thus in setting the stage for the birth of new stars.

Astronomers know that these molecular clouds consist mainly of hydrogen molecules – unusual in a cosmos where conditions are rarely right for hydrogen atoms to bond together into molecules. If one traces the distribution of clouds in a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way galaxy, you'll find that they are lined up along the spiral arms.

But how do those clouds come into being? What makes matter congregate in regions a hundred or even a thousand times more dense than the surrounding interstellar gas?

One candidate mechanism involves the galaxy's magnetic fields. Everyone who has seen a magnet act on iron filings in the classic classroom experiment knows that magnetic fields can be used to impose order. Some researchers have argued that something similar goes on in the case of molecular clouds: that galaxies' magnetic fields guide and direct the condensation of interstellar matter to form denser clouds and facilitate their further collapse.

Some astronomer see this as the key mechanism enabling star formation. Others contend that the cloud matter's gravitational attraction and turbulent motion of gas within the cloud are so strong as to cancel any influence of an outside magnetic field.

If we were to restrict attention to our own galaxy, it would be difficult to find out who is right. We would need to see our galaxy's disk from above to make the appropriate measurements; in reality, our Solar System sits within the galactic disk. That is why Hua-bai Li and Thomas Henning from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy chose a different target: the Triangulum galaxy, 3 million light-years from Earth and also known as M 33, which is oriented in just the right way.

Using a telescope known as the Submillimeter Array (SMA), which is located at Mauna Kea Observatory on Mauna Kea Island, Hawai'i, Li and Henning measured specific properties of radiation received from different regions of the galaxy which are correlated with the orientation of these region's magnetic fields. They found that the magnetic fields associated with the galaxy's six most massive giant molecular clouds were orderly, and well aligned with the galaxy's spiral arms.
If turbulence played a more important role in these clouds than the ordering influence of the galaxy's magnetic field, the magnetic field associated with the cloud would be random and disordered.

Thus, Li and Henning's observations are a strong indication that magnetic fields indeed play an important role when it comes to the formation of dense molecular clouds – and to setting the stage for the birth of stars and planetary systems like our own.

More information: The work described here will be published in the November 24, 2011 edition of Nature as H. Li and T. Henning, "The alignment of molecular cloud magnetic fields with the spiral arms in M33". The article will be published online on November 16. Link to article: http://dx.doi.org/ … /nature10551

The Daily Galaxy via Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Image credit: with thanks to astrosurf.com

Comments

Quote: "Some astronomers see this as the key mechanism for enabling star formation." This means the big bang gravity theory is as wrong as it gets. Plasma cosmology is a better model of the universe. Spiral arms are held together by magnetic fields, and not gravity like they always still say. More and more proof arises to refute the foolish big bang theory and all the phony dark matter and changing values for dark energy based entirely upon gravity with no regard for real proven measured magnetic fields
http:holographicgalaxy.blogspot.com

Read a decent analysis of Dark matter and why it's the current best theory we have for explaining the structure of the universe, here:

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/09/dark_matter_haters_to_the_left.php

Hologram:

You comments are interesting. It is disturbing to see them framed in derogatory language. Regardless of the possibility that the standard model and the dark matter theories might not prove out, use of words like "foolish" and "phoney" are not good scientific dialogue. Good science is honest debate in search of truth, not a pissing match. Please be respectful of honest theoretical physicists who devote their lives to these questions.

Emanations from the galactic nucleus stimulate star formation.
Most briefly described – Black holes cannot totally merge. (Described elsewhere.) Sometimes only light seconds apart, two and up to a million or more of these bodies orbit each other according to the laws of physics (taking into account the mass and angular momentum of each). While gravity searches endlessly for a harmonious arrangement, conflicting magnetic fields never seek cooperation.
Magnetic fields arise from electrons orbiting in a band or strata very near the surface of each black hole. (This dense zone of electrons assumes a unitary, wave-like configuration.) (These electrons arise from the accretion of matter to the B.H. Should this band/layer of electrons begin to accumulate more particles than that governed by the volume/mass of the black hole, it creeps toward the polar areas where, if this excessive gain continues as in a quasar, the overload will be dispatched as a jet. Asymmetry caused by black hole spin can quench one of the jets.)
Each black hole in a nucleus produces electro magnetic fields by the usual mechanisms. These are intense in the close vicinity, but can and do reach out into the galaxy, and sometimes beyond the visible galaxy. These magnetic fields are instrumental in initiating star formation.
In a nuclear ‘nest’ of black holes each hole is expressing itself. Multiple magnetic fields or lines are formed, break, reconnect, break, and so on. Seemingly chaotic. Occasionally, here and there among and between black holes, these (multiple) fields align, and when unified strike deeply into the galaxy. The composite action shape of these fortified fields determines the configuration of star formation pattern in the outer galaxy. (Scientific heresy.) For example, when these fields are dispatched more or less evenly around the nucleus, the star pattern will be mostly elliptical or spherical. When the nucleus is ‘flattened’ or disk shaped, or linear the major field(s) will discharge mostly at the tips or edges of the rotating nucleus resulting in a star pattern that is spiral. There are many variations between these two major configurations. In a mature nucleus composed of millions of black holes, in addition to the far exterior star pattern, there most often is a buzz or halo of star formation near the nucleus caused by secondary magnetic fields of lessor strength emanating from those black holes not cooperating with the major expressed fields.
As those major electromagnetic fields emanating from the galactic nucleus ‘roam’ the outer galaxy, often times describing contrarian directions/forces, they frequently connect, break, and reconnect. This forms a point of stimulus for star formation. Many other factors must also be operable. Being that the nucleus of the galaxy is never stable for very long, this action can occur at multiple points in the galaxy. Again, the shape of the overall nucleus favors a certain configuration of magnetic flows/lines, which results in a certain pattern of star formation.
The same mechanism operates with star bursts within the galaxy. In these cases the nucleus of the star burst is young and composed of fewer black holes. These disperse their fields randomly in all directions. Star formation is fairly evenly spaced in all directions.
(The following is not acceptable hypothesis.) Similar to the process you called magnetorotional instability, the lashing about or ‘whipping’ of magnetic fields of all strengths in contrarian directions causes the formation and isolation of minute spherical volumes each with a magnetic charge. Called plasmoids, these are very similar to the cavitation of bubbles in a liquid caused by shearing. These ‘bubbles’ contain minute amounts of material suited for star formation. The image on the left illustrates cavitation of bubbles in water. The mechanism described here with magnetic fields is similar. When a plasmoid decavitates/collapses the release and expres-sion of thermal and other forces is almost beyond imagination. (Think of a mini or miniscule Big Bang.)
Repeat. Each black hole in a nucleus is generating magnetic and electric fields. Because of misaligned spins these fields are almost always in conflict. However, with increasing numbers of black holes in a nucleus the chance for alignment of fields between black holes increases. Also, increasing maturity of the nucleus (effects of gravity) improves the synchronization of spins and resulting fields. Because of accumulating mass and angular momentum, the nucleus composed of millions of black holes will flatten and/or string out. This enables the composite magnetic fields to strengthen and plunge directionally and deeply into the galaxy from the tips and edges of the nucleus. Some number of individual black holes will not participate in this cooperative effort, and will release their fields as they wish. Collectively even these truant magnetic fields can produce a large number of stars nearby (a halo or cocoon around the nucleus).
[A description of Plasmoids is available. K ]

Thanks for the opportunity to post. Usually, I get run off from posting sites.
This is a little more information about Plasmoids.
This is a follow-up on the contribution of 'Plasmoids' to star formation mentioned in the original message.

Brief description of the process - Electric and magnetic fields generated mostly by the nucleus of a galaxy reach into the outer galaxy. There, competing contrarian fields, extending and contracting, breaking and reconnecting, stir up a 'frothy mix' in an area rich with star formation materials. Other conditions must also be right for a star to form.
"A Plasmoid is a coherent structure of plasma and magnetic fields." See Winston H. Bostick.
The contention here is that the 'whipping' by dynamic magnetic fields of/in a rich stellar environment creates tiny individual bubbles of that material contained and encapsulated in/by a magnetic field. That product is called here - Intra galactic stellar Plasmoids.
A magnetic field 'working over' a volume of pre-star formation materials will convert that area into a swirling turf of Plasmoids. These are not stable; duration is not known. Most will be col-lapsing or decavitation at any given moment. When this happens there is a release of thermal and other energy, electrons, etc. Possibly, there is a moment of fission or fusion.
As the magnetic field works the area, that same matter, plus other, will be caught up and 'processed' again and again.
[These events are not well understood by this writer.]
The area becomes primed for stellar ignition.
The size and character of the resulting star depends on many factors, of which one is the strength and duration of activity of magnetic fields in the area.
As noted in the original thesis, the greater source of these electromagnetic fields is the nucleus of the galaxy. Present thinking of this writer is that any two or more closely associated black holes can produce these fields and thus initiate star formation nearby to produce stellar conglomerates, starbursts. At least two black holes are required to amplify and directionally launch magnetic fields. (Called by this writer the Vladimir Effect. Described elsewhere.) Since it is unlikely that black holes will 'harmonize' with each other, the produced fields will be erratic and asymmetric, which is desirable for star formation.
K

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