Analytical models of X-shape magnetic fields in galactic halos
IRAP, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, 9 avenue du Colonel Roche, BP 44346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
Received: 1 November 2013
Accepted: 5 December 2013
Context. External spiral galaxies seen edge-on exhibit X-shape magnetic fields in their halos. Whether the halo of our own Galaxy also hosts an X-shape magnetic field is still an open question.
Aims. We would like to provide the necessary analytical tools to test the hypothesis of an X-shape magnetic field in the Galactic halo.
Methods. We propose a general method to derive analytical models of divergence-free magnetic fields whose field lines are assigned a specific shape. We then utilize our method to obtain four particular models of X-shape magnetic fields in galactic halos. In passing, we also derive two particular models of predominantly horizontal magnetic fields in galactic disks. All our field models have spiraling field lines with spatially varying pitch angle.
Results. Our four halo field models do indeed lead to X patterns in synthetic synchrotron polarization maps. Their precise topologies can all be explained by the action of a wind blowing outward from the galactic disk or from the galactic center. In practice, our field models may be used for fitting purposes or as inputs to various theoretical problems.
Key words: galaxies: magnetic fields / galaxies: halos / galaxies: spiral / Galaxy: halo / Galaxy: disk / ISM: magnetic fields
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