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A New Optical Polarization Catalog for the Small Magellanic Cloud: The Magnetic Field Structure

  • Gomes, A. Lobo
  • Magalhães, A. M.
  • Pereyra, A.
  • Rodrigues, C. V.
Published Article
Publication Date
Jul 15, 2015
Submission Date
Apr 08, 2015
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/806/1/94
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We present a new optical polarimetric catalog for the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). It contains a total of 7207 stars, located in the Northeast (NE) and Wing sections of the SMC and part of the Magellanic Bridge. This new catalog is a significant improvement compared to previous polarimetric catalogs for the SMC. We used it to study the sky-projected interstellar magnetic field structure of the SMC. Three trends were observed for the ordered magnetic field direction at position angles of $(65 \pm 10)$ deg, $(115 \pm 10)$ deg, and $(150 \pm 10)$ deg. Our results suggest the existence of an ordered magnetic field aligned with the Magellanic Bridge direction and SMC's Bar in the NE region, which have position angles roughly at $115.4$ deg and $45$ deg, respectively. However, the overall magnetic field structure is fairly complex. The trends at $115$ deg and $150$ deg may be correlated with the SMC's bimodal structure, observed in Cepheids' distances and HI velocities. We derived a value of $B_{sky} = (0.947 \pm 0.079)~\mu G$ for the ordered sky-projected magnetic field, and $\delta B = (1.465 \pm 0.069)~\mu G$ for the turbulent magnetic field. This estimate of $B_{sky}$ is significantly larger (by a factor of $\sim10$) than the line-of-sight field derived from Faraday rotation observations, suggesting that most of the ordered field component is on the plane of the sky. A turbulent magnetic field stronger than the ordered field agrees with observed estimates for other irregular and spiral galaxies. For the SMC the $B_{sky}/\delta B$ ratio is closer to what is observed for our Galaxy than other irregular dwarf galaxies.

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