Colloquium

The Magnetic Milky Way in Three Dimensions

Magnetic fields thread our Milky Way Galaxy, influencing interstellar physics from cosmic ray propagation to star formation. The magnetic interstellar medium is also a formidable foreground for experimental cosmology, particularly for the quest to find signatures of inflation in the polarized cosmic microwave background (CMB). Despite its importance across scientific realms, the structure of the Galactic magnetic field is not well understood. Observational tracers like polarized dust emission yield only sky-projected, distance-integrated measurements of the three-dimensional magnetic structure. I will discuss new ways to probe interstellar magnetism in three dimensions, by combining high-resolution observations of Galactic neutral hydrogen with recent insights into how gas morphology encodes properties of the ambient magnetic field. These 3D maps are a new tool for understanding the magnetic interstellar medium and the polarized foreground to the CMB.

Followed by grad student discussion at 5:30

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