KSGC: Magnetic Fields in the Galaxy

Grants and Contracts Details


This proposal describes the continuation ofa student Ph.D. research project to measure magnetic field strengths in the interstellar medium of our Galaxy. The student, Elizabeth Mayo, is currently supported by a KSGC fellowship, and we ask for renewal of this fellowship for the year 2003/2004... The project is part ofa long-standing research program using the techniques of radio astronomy. Interstellar magnetic fields are important because they likely playa crucial role in the star-formation process... Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the origins of stars (and planets, by implication) is not possible without understanding the role of magnetic fields. In this project, we will obtain observational data from several radio telescope facilities, including the Very Large Array (Socorro., NM). These data will reveal interstellar magnetic field strengths via the Zeeman effect in radio frequency spectral lines. From this information, we will estimate the magnetic energy in star-forming interstellar clouds in the Galaxy. We will compare magnetic energies with the energies of self gravitation and internal motions. From these comparisons, we hope a better understanding will emerge of the role of magnetic fields in the origins of stars. Elizabeth Mayo has been working on this project since summer 2003, and she is making very good progress. Moreover, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has allocated observing time for the project on a competitive basis. Observations on the Very Large Array are scheduled for May, 2003.
Effective start/end date9/1/038/31/04


  • Western Kentucky University: $16,000.00


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