The origin of filamentary structures in the interstellar medium of spiral galaxies

The interstellar medium (ISM) of spiral galaxies, i.e., the medium between the stars, is a dynamic environment consisting of thermal gas, relativistic particles, magnetic fields, and dust. The presence of filamentary structures in gas density and magnetic fields are confirmed via several observations but the precise origin of these filaments is still unclear. The project aims to decipher the origin of such filamentary structures using numerical simulations and also the observational data.

In this project, the student would work with the state-of-art numerical simulations to model the local ISM and characterise filaments in the simulated ISM (as shown in the figure, (a) shows the thermal gas density and (b) shows the magnetic fields, both has random filamentary structures). We would use techniques to first determine the properties of filaments in the simulations and then use existing neutral hydrogen, synchrotron, and sub-millimeter observations to compare with the simulated results. The results from the comparative study will be used to decide the physical mechanisms which lead to the formation of such filaments. The study will also identify the relative importance of various physical processes and constrain the parameters of the simulations.

For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.