Radio polarimetric imaging of the interstellar medium: magnetic field and diffuse ionized gas structure near the W3/W4/W5/HB 3 complex.
GRAY A.D., LANDECKER T.L., DEWDNEY P.E., TAYLOR A.R., WILLIS A.G. and NORMANDEAU M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have used polarimetric imaging to study the magneto-ionic medium of the Galaxy, obtaining 1420 MHz images with an angular resolution of 1' over more than 40 deg2 of sky around the W3/W4/W5/HB3 H II region/SNR complex in the Perseus Arm. Features detected in polarization angle are imposed on the linearly polarized Galactic synchrotron background emission by Faraday rotation arising in foreground ionized gas having an emission measure as low as 1 cm–6.pc. Several new remarkable phenomena have been identified, including: mottled polarization arising from random fluctuations in a magneto-ionic screen that we identify with a medium in the Perseus Arm, probably in the vicinity of the H II regions themselves; depolarization arising from very high rotation measures (several times 103 rad.m–2) and rotation measure gradients due to the dense, turbulent environs of the H II regions; highly ordered features spanning up to several degrees; and an extended influence of the H II regions beyond the boundaries defined by earlier observations. In particular, the effects of an extended, low-density ionized halo around the H II region W4 are evident, probably an example of the extended H II envelopes postulated as the origin of weak recombination-line emission detected from the Galactic ridge. Our polarization observations can be understood if the uniform magnetic field component in this envelope scales with the square-root of electron density and is 20 µG at the edge of the depolarized region around W4, although this is probably an overestimate since the random field component will have a significant effect.
ISM: H II Regions - ISM: Structure - Polarization - Radio Continuum: ISM