Magnetic Ties Surround the “Whale Galaxy” at 80,000 Light-Years Away

A recent photo of NGC 4631, more likely known as the “Whale Galaxy,” displays magnetic ties stretching above and underneath the disk of the galaxy. The threads, which appears in blue and green in the image, reach far into the galaxy’s halo of dust and gas. Also, the green filaments possess a magnetic field indicating away from Earth; the blue ones got an area pointing to our planet. Another thing noticeable was the galaxy’s disk, which appears in pink.

The researchers behind the photo are still trying to get how the galaxy’s magnetic system runs, according to a report released with the picture. They would hope to find out how frequent these types of magnetic fields are in galactic halos and what forms the fields develop.

So, examining such magnetic stuff can also help researchers understand how galaxies create magnetic fields. Moreover, whether the fluid motion in a galaxy, which researchers name it the dynamo effect, develops the magnetic field.

Magnetic Ties Surround the “Whale Galaxy” at 80,000 Light-Years Away

The observations were realized with the Karl G.Jansky Very Large Array, a telescope used by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Richard Henriksen, an astrophysicist from Queen’s University in Canada, detailed: “We are a little bit like the blind men and the elephant, since each time we look at the galaxy differently, we reach a different conclusion about its nature.”

The galaxy is almost 25 million light-years far from our planet in the constellation Canes Venatici. Also, it is 80,000 light-years across and possesses a small partner (NGC 4627). An extra small elliptical galaxy is noticeable in the new photo.

Henriksen added: “[…] we seem to have one of those rare occasions where a classical theory, about magnetic generators called dynamos, predicted the observations of NGC 4631 quite well.”

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