Milky Way's magnetic field, Planck image

Milky Way's magnetic field, Planck image

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Credit: ESA Planck Collaboration /SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Milky Way's magnetic field. Composite image of the polarised light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way, showing the Milky Way's magnetic field. The magnetic field is displayed using a visualisation technique called line integral convolution (LIC). Darker regions correspond to stronger polarised emission, with the striations indicating the direction of the magnetic field projected on the plane of the sky. The galactic plane (dark band, horizontal) is aligned with the horizontal axis of the oval. Here, the polarisation reveals a regular pattern on large angular scales, which is due to the magnetic field lines being predominantly parallel to the plane of the Milky Way. The data also reveal variations of the polarisation direction within nearby.

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