The Origin of the High Galactic Latitudes Asymmetry in the Milky Way Magnetic Field Structure

The accurate mapping of the magnetic structures of galaxies is crucial for our understanding in the origin and evolution of magnetic fields in our Universe, which serve as one of the major fundamental forces that significantly influence the interstellar medium. The rotation measure (RM) obtained from radio polarimetric observations is amongst the most powerful probes of cosmic magnetic fields, given its ability in distinguishing the directions of magnetic fields.

Our unique vantage point from within the Milky Way allows us to study its magnetic structures in great details. Recently, the high Galactic latitude RM patterns have been found to be asymmetric on the two Galactic hemispheres, with its true cause still under debate.

This project will investigate in details the origin of this perceived asymmetry in the Milky Way magnetic structures by making use of a recent, high-resolution simulation of a Milky Way-like galaxy. In particular, several different astrophysical scenarios will be explored by making corresponding simulated measurements of the RM patterns, similar to those that will be performed using the Square Kilometre Array Observatory and its pathfinder telescopes.

Prospective students should have basic knowledge in computer programming in Python. For more information, please feel free to contact the supervisors.

(Image: The RM profiles at high Galactic latitudes for the two Galactic hemispheres, from Dickey et al. 2022)