The Galactic magnetic field's effect in star-forming regions

Ian W. Stephens, Leslie W. Looney, C. Darren Dowell, John E. Vaillancourt, Konstantinos Tassis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the effect of the Milky Way's magnetic field in star-forming regions using archived 350 μm polarization data on 52 Galactic star formation regions from the Hertz polarimeter module. The polarization angles and percentages for individual telescope beams were combined in order to produce a large-scale average for each source and for complexes of sources. In more than 80% of the sources, we find a meaningful mean magnetic field direction, implying the existence of an ordered magnetic field component at the scale of these sources. The average polarization angles were analyzed with respect to the Galactic coordinates in order to test for correlations between polarization percentage, polarization angle, intensity, and Galactic location. No correlation was found, which suggests that the magnetic field in dense molecular clouds is decoupled from the large-scale Galactic magnetic field. Finally, we show that the magnetic field directions in the complexes are consistent with a random distribution on the sky.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2011


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Polarization
  • Stars: formation
  • Submillimeter: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Galactic magnetic field's effect in star-forming regions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this