WSRT Faraday tomography of the Galactic ISM at λ ~ 0.86 m
I. The GEMINI data set at (l, b) = (181°, 20°)
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Marsfield, NSW 2122, Australia e-mail: email@example.com
3 ASTRON, PO Box 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
4 Kapteyn Institute, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Accepted: 3 October 2008
Aims. We investigate the properties of the Galactic ISM by applying Faraday tomography to a radio polarization data set in the direction of the Galactic anti-centre.
Methods. We address the problem of missing large-scale structure in our data, and show that this does not play an important role for the results we present.
Results. The main peak of the Faraday depth spectra in our data set is not measurably resolved for about 8% of the lines of sight. An unresolved peak indicates a separation between the regions with Faraday rotation and synchrotron emission. However, cosmic rays pervade the ISM, and synchrotron emission would therefore also be produced where there is Faraday rotation. We suggest that the orientation of the magnetic field can separate the two effects. By modelling the thermal electron contribution to the Faraday depth, we map the strength of the magnetic field component along the line of sight. Polarized point sources in our data set have rotation measures that are comparable to the Faraday depths of the diffuse emission in our data. Our Faraday depth maps show narrow canals of low polarized intensity. We conclude that depolarization over the telescope beam produces at least some of these canals. Finally, we investigate the properties of one conspicuous region in this data set and argue that it is created by a decrease in line-of-sight depolarization compared to its surroundings.
Key words: magnetic fields / radio continuum: ISM / ISM: magnetic fields / techniques: polarimetric / polarization
© ESO, 2009