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Record-breaking Galaxy Five Billion Light-Years Away Shows We Live in Magnetic Universe

13 Sep 2017, 00:43 UTC
Record-breaking Galaxy Five Billion Light-Years Away Shows We Live in Magnetic Universe
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Record-breaking Galaxy Five Billion Light-Years Away Shows We Live in Magnetic Universe: A team of astronomers has observed the magnetic field of a galaxy five billion light-years from Earth. The galaxy is the most distant in which a coherent magnetic field has been observed and provides important insight into how magnetism in the Universe formed and evolved.The observation shows a magnetic field of a similar strength and configuration to that seen in our own Milky Way Galaxy, even though the distant galaxy is five billion years younger than ours. This is evidence that galactic magnetic fields form early in a galaxy’s life and remain relatively stable.“This finding is exciting,” says Dr. Sui Ann Mao, an astronomer and Minerva Research Group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and lead author of the paper describing the observation. “It is now the record holder of the most distant galaxy for which we have this magnetic field information.” The paper was published August 28 in Nature Astronomy.Galaxies have their own magnetic fields, but they are incredibly weak—a million times weaker than the Earth’s magnetic field. One theory suggests that the magnetic field of a young galaxy starts off weak and tangled, ...

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