Simulated square kilometre array maps from Galactic 3D-emission models
National Astronomical Observatories, CAS, Jia 20, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100012, PR China e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 13 August 2009
Context. Planning of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) requires simulations of the expected sky emission at arcsec angular resolution to evaluate its scientific potential, to constrain its technical realization in the best possible way, and to guide the observing strategy.
Aims. We simulate high-resolution total intensity, polarization, and rotation measure (RM) maps of selected fields based on our recent global 3D-model of Galactic emission.
Methods. Simulations of diffuse Galactic emission were conducted using the hammurabi code modified for arcsec angular resolution patches towards various Galactic directions. The random magnetic field components are set to follow a Kolmogorov-like power-law spectrum. We analysed the simulated maps in terms of their probability density functions (PDFs) and structure functions.
Results. We present maps for various Galactic longitudes and latitudes at 1.4 GHz, which is the frequency where deep SKA surveys are proposed. The maps are about in size and have an angular resolution of about . Total intensity emission is smoother in the plane than at high latitudes because of the different contributions from the regular and random magnetic field. The high-latitude fields show more extended polarized emission and RM structures than those in the plane, where patchy emission structures dominate on very small scales. The RM PDFs in the plane are close to Gaussians, but clearly deviate from that at high latitudes. The RM structure functions show smaller amplitudes and steeper slopes towards high latitudes. These results emerge from much more turbulent cells being passed through by the line-of-sights in the plane. Although the simulated random magnetic field components distribute in 3D, the magnetic field spectrum extracted from the structure functions of RMs conforms to 2D in the plane and approaches 3D at high latitudes. This is partly related to the outer scale of the turbulent magnetic field, but mainly to the different lengths of the lines-of-sight.
Conclusions. The significant scatter of the simulated RM distributions agrees with the large scatter of observed RMs of pulsars and extragalactic sources in the Galactic plane and also at high Galactic latitudes. A very dense grid of RMs from extragalactic sources is required to trace and separate Galactic RM foreground fluctuations. Even at high latitudes, total intensity and polarized emission is highly structured, which will contaminate sensitive high-resolution extragalactic observations with the SKA and have to be separated in an appropriate way.
Key words: magnetic fields / polarization / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / ISM: magnetic field / ISM: structure
© ESO, 2009