First observations of the magnetic field geometry in prestellar cores

D. Ward-Thompson, J. M. Kirk, R. M. Crutcher, J. S. Greaves, W. S. Holland, P. André

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the first published maps of magnetic fields in prestellar cores to test theoretical ideas about the way in which the magnetic field geometry affects the star formation process. The observations are JCMT-SCUBA maps of λ850 μm thermal emission from dust. Linear polarizations at typically 10 or more independent positions in each of three objects, L1544, L183, and L43, were measured, and the geometries of the magnetic fields in the plane of the sky were mapped from the polarization directions. The observed polarizations in all three objects appear smooth and fairly uniform. In L1544 and L183 the mean magnetic fields are at an angle of ∼30° to the minor axes of the cores. The L43 B-field appears to have been influenced in its southern half such that it is parallel to the wall of a cavity produced by a CO outflow from a nearby T Tauri star, while in the northern half the field appears less disturbed and has an angle 44° to the core minor axis. We briefly compare our results with published models of magnetized cloud cores and conclude that no current model can explain these observations simultaneously with previous ISOCAM data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L135-L138
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2000


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: individual (L43, L183, L1544)
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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