Astronomers Have Detected Signs of The Largest Magnetic Fields in The Universe

Magnetic forces permeate the entire universe. Atoms can be ionized into positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons even though the universe is electrically neutral.

Magnetic fields are produced when those ions are propelled. The collisions between and within interstellar plasma are one of the most typical sources of magnetic fields on vast dimensions. For galactic-scale magnetic fields, this is one of the main producers of magnetic fields.

However, magnetic fields ought to be present at even greater sizes. The cosmic web is a structure that describes how matter is spread throughout the universe at its largest size. Like soapy water clumps among a vast area of soap bubbles, large superclusters of galaxies are divided by bleak voids. A cosmic network of matter is formed by the thin intergalactic strands that extend between these superclusters.

Since a large portion of this web is charged, it should produce massive but weak magnetic fields within the galaxy. That is, at least, the idea. These web-like magnetic fields have evaded the observation of astronomers. However, a recent research made the first discoveries of them.

Magnetic fields that are billions of light-years distant cannot be immediately detected by us. Instead, their impact on charged electrons is how we see them. Radio radiation is produced when electrons and other particles move along magnetic field lines.

Astronomers are able to map the magnetic fields of the galaxy by tracing this radio transmission. However, because cosmic web strands are so diffuse, the radio radiation they produce is incredibly weak. Too dim to be clearly seen. Additionally, the web signal may be overpowered by galactic radio pollution because neighboring galaxies produce even greater radio signals.

The crew concentrated on using polarized radio waves to solve this problem. These are electromagnetic waves with a particular direction. The researchers had an easier time separating this signal from the cosmic radio noise because the orientation is connected to the general orientation of a filament.

They made use of information from various all-sky radio datasets, including the Murchison Widefield Array, the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array, the Planck Legacy Archive, and the Global Magneto-Ionic Medium Survey. The team verified the polarized radio signal produced by the comic web by layering this data and contrasting it with maps of it.

This finding provides significant proof for the presence of collision shockwaves within intergalactic filaments in addition to being the first discovery of cosmic web magnetic fields.

In computer models of cosmic structures, these shockwaves have been observed, but this is the first concrete proof that the simulation characteristics are correct.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.