A relation between the warm neutral and ionized media observed in the Canadian Galactic plane survey

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/773/1/L11
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
ISSN2041-8205
Volume773
Issue1
Article numberL11
AbstractWe report on a comparison between 21 cm rotation measure (RM) and the optically thin atomic hydrogen column density (N H I (τ → 0)) measured toward unresolved extragalactic sources in the Galactic plane of the northern sky. H I column densities integrated to the Galactic edge are measured immediately surrounding each of nearly 2000 sources in 1 arcmin 21 cm line data, and are compared to RMs observed from polarized emission of each source. RM data are binned in column density bins 4 × 10²⁰ cm⁻² wide, and one observes a strong relationship between the number of hydrogen atoms in a 1 cm² column through the plane and the mean RM along the same line of sight and path length. The relationship is linear over one order of magnitude (from 0.8 to 14 × 10²¹ atoms cm ⁻²) of column densities, with a constant RM/NH I ∼ -23.2 ± 2.3 rad m⁻²/10²¹ atoms cm⁻², and a positive RM of 45.0 ± 13.8 rad m⁻² in the presence of no atomic hydrogen. This slope is used to calculate a mean volume-averaged magnetic field in the second quadrant of 〈B 〉 ∼1.0 ± 0.1 μG directed away from the Sun, assuming an ionization fraction of 8% (consistent with the warm-neutral medium; WNM). The remarkable consistency between this field and 〈B〉 = 1.2 μG found with the same RM sources and a Galactic model of dispersion measures (DMs) suggests that electrons in the partially ionized WNM are mainly responsible for pulsar DMs, and thus the partially ionized WNM is the dominant form of the magneto-ionic interstellar medium. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
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PublisherIOP Publishing
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21270604
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Record identifierec54b1b9-40e1-4114-91f4-ef07330d21e1
Record created2014-02-17
Record modified2016-07-18
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