Diffuse polarized emission in the LOFAR Two-meter Sky Survey

C. L. Van Eck, M. Haverkorn, M. I. R. Alves, R. Beck, P. Best, E. Carretti, K. T. Chyży, T. Enßlin, J. S. Farnes, K. Ferrière, G. Heald, M. Iacobelli, V. Jelić, W. Reich, H. J. A. Röttgering, D. H. F. M. Schnitzeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Faraday tomography allows us to map diffuse polarized synchrotron emission from our Galaxy and use it to interpret the magnetic field in the interstellar medium (ISM). We have applied Faraday tomography to 60 observations from the LOFAR Two-meter Sky Survey (LOTSS) and produced a Faraday depth cube mosaic covering 568 square degrees at high Galactic latitudes, at 4.3' angular resolution and 1 rad m$^{-2}$ Faraday depth resolution, with a typical noise level of 50--100 $\mu$Jy per point spread function (PSF) per rotation measure spread function (RMSF) (40-80 mK RMSF$^{-1}$). While parts of the images are strongly affected by instrumental polarization, we observe diffuse polarized emission throughout most of the field, with typical brightness between 1 and 6 K RMSF$^{-1}$, and Faraday depths between $-7$ and +25 rad m$^{-2}$. We observed many new polarization features, some up to 15 degrees in length. These include two regions with very uniformly structured, linear gradients in the Faraday depth; we measured the steepness of these gradients as 2.6 and 13 rad m$^{-2}$ deg$^{-1}$. We also observed a relationship between one of the gradients and an HI filament in the local ISM. Other ISM tracers were also checked for correlations with our polarization data and none were found, but very little signal was seen in most tracers in this region. We conclude that the LOTSS data are very well suited for Faraday tomography, and that a full-scale survey with all the LOTSS data has the potential to reveal many new Galactic polarization features and map out diffuse Faraday depth structure across the entire northern hemisphere.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • astro-ph.GA


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