Volume 394, Number 1, October IV 2002
|Page(s)||47 - 57|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||04 October 2002|
Magnetic fields in the absence of spiral density waves – NGC 4414
Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, ul. Orla 171, 30-244 Kraków, Poland
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Observatoire de Bordeaux, UMR 5804 CNRS/INSU, BP 89, 33270 Floirac, France
Corresponding author: M. Soida, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 29 July 2002
We present three-frequency VLA observations of the flocculent spiral galaxy NGC 4414 made in order to study the magnetic field structure in absence of strong density wave flows. NGC 4414 shows a regular spiral pattern of observed polarization -vectors with a radial component comparable in strength to the azimuthal one. The average pitch angle of the magnetic field is about 20°, similar to galaxies with a well-defined spiral pattern. This provides support for field generation by a turbulent dynamo without significant “contamination” from streaming motions in spiral arms. While the stellar light is very axisymmetric, the magnetic field structure shows a clear asymmetry with a stronger regular field and a smaller magnetic pitch angle in the northern disk. Extremely strong Faraday rotation is measured in the southern part of the disk, becoming Faraday thick at 6 cm. The distribution of Faraday rotation suggests a mixture of axisymmetric and higher-mode magnetic fields. The strong Faraday effects in the southern region suggest a much thicker magnetoionic disk and a higher content of diffuse ionized gas than in the northern disk portion. An elongation of the 20 cm total power emission is also seen towards the South. Although NGC 4414 is currently an isolated spiral, the asymmetries in the polarized radio emission may be sensitive tracers of previous encounters, including weak interactions which would chiefly affect the diffuse gas component without generating obvious long-term perturbations in the optical structure.
Key words: galaxies: magnetic fields / galaxies: individual: NGC 4414 / radio continuum: galaxies / polarization
© ESO, 2002
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