Are magnetic fields the scaffolds of galaxies?

In this project you will use existing and new data to understand the nature of filamentary structure in galaxies and how they relate to magnetic fields.

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This project is open for Bachelor, Honours and PhD students.
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Planck magnetic field lines on the Milky Way's atomic hydrogen emission. Credit: Planck, HI4PI.

Magnetism, alongside gravity, is one of the most influential forces in determining the structure and evolution of the Universe, and yet one of the least understood. The underlying, and ever-evolving, magnetic field structure of the Universe helps determine how stars and galaxies form, how galaxies interact, and how the Universe has changed over time through shaping the gas within and between galaxies. To understand how galaxies form and evolve we will jointly consider atomic gas structure and the magnetic force that both conveys and prevents the movement of gas.

In this project you will use existing and new data to serarch for the signature of magnetic fields in atomic hydrogen clouds throughout the Milky Way and Magellanic System.  We will look to answer questions like:

  • How do magnetic fields affect gas inflow and outflow in the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds?

  • Over what gas temperature ranges does the magnetic field determine the structure of gas in galaxies?

 The project will involve observational data from a number of the world's best radio telescopes, including the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its early stages as part of the POSSUM survey of the Universe's magnetism and the Galactic ASKAP survey of atomic hydrogen (GASKAP-HI).  You will become a member of a large international team and have the opportunity to produce some of the earliest headline science with ASKAP.