Observational results of interstellar and intergalactic magnetic fields are reviewed, including the fields in supernova remnants and loops, interstellar filaments and clouds, Hii regions and bubbles, the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, galaxy clusters, and the cosmic web. A variety of approaches are used to investigate these fields. The orientations of magnetic fields in interstellar filaments and molecular clouds are traced by polarized thermal dust emission and starlight polarization. The field strengths and directions along the line of sight in dense clouds and cores are measured by Zeeman splitting of emission or absorption lines. The large-scale magnetic fields in the Milky Way have been best probed by Faraday rotation measures of a large number of pulsars and extragalactic radio sources. The coherent Galactic magnetic fields are found to follow the spiral arms and have their direction reversals in arms and interarm regions in the disk. The azimuthal fields in the halo reverse their directions below and above the Galactic plane. The orientations of organized magnetic fields in nearby galaxies have been observed through polarized synchrotron emission. Magnetic fields in the intracluster medium have been indicated by diffuse radio halos, polarized radio relics, and Faraday rotations of embedded radio galaxies and background sources. Sparse evidence for very weak magnetic fields in the cosmic web is the detection of the faint radio bridge between the Coma cluster and A1367. Future observations should aim at the 3D tomography of the large-scale coherent magnetic fields in our Galaxy and nearby galaxies, a better description of intracluster field properties, and firm detections of intergalactic magnetic fields in the cosmic web.
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics – Annual Reviews
Published: Aug 18, 2017
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