He defines the universe as filled with magnetic fields. Although the universe is electrically neutral, atoms can ionize into positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons.
When these charges are accelerated, they create magnetic fields. One of the most common sources of magnetic fields on a large scale are collisions between and within interstellar plasma. It is one of the main sources of magnetic fields for magnetic fields on a galactic scale.
But magnetic fields must also exist on larger scales. On the largest scale of the universe, matter is distributed in a structure known as the cosmic web. Large groups of galaxies separated from each other by barren voids. Thin threads of intergalactic material stretch between these gigantic clusters, forming a cosmic web of cytoplasm.
Much of this network is ionized, so it must create extensive but weak magnetic fields between galaxies. At least that’s the theory. Astronomers have not yet been able to observe these magnetic fields. But a new study has made its first discoveries.
We cannot directly detect magnetic fields billions of light years away. Instead, we observe it through its effect on charged particles. When electrons and other particles spin along magnetic field lines, they emit radio light.
By matching these radio signals, astronomers can map the galaxy’s magnetic fields. But the strands of the cosmic web are so stretched out that the radio light they emit is very weak. He is too weak to be easily detected. Because nearby galaxies generate stronger radio signals, the network signal can be weakened by galactic radio noise.
To overcome this problem, the team focused on polarized radio light. These are radio emissions that have a certain direction. Since the direction is related to the general direction of the filament, the team can easily extract this signal from the space radio background.
They used data from all-sky radio maps such as the Magnetic Ion Survey, the Planck Heritage Archive, the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array, and the Murchison Wide Field Array. By correlating this data and comparing it to the webcomic’s maps, the team confirmed the polarized radio signal emitted by the network.
This is not only the first detection of magnetic fields in the cosmic web, but also strong evidence for the existence of shock waves colliding within intergalactic filaments.
These shock waves have been seen in computer simulations of cosmic structures, but this is the first evidence to support the idea that these simulation features are accurate.
Source: Science Alert