MAX-PLANCK-INSTITUT FUR RADIOASTRONOMIE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MAX-PLANCK-INSTITUT FUR RADIOASTRONOMIE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Galaxy's magnetic field. Radio image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4631, with added lines show the orientation of magnetic field lines around it. The orientation of the field lines can be calculated by measuring the plane of polarisation of the radio emissions from each area. NGC 4631's magnetic field lines are being pushed into the region around the galaxy (the halo) by strong streams of charged particles which generate radio waves as they pass along them. NGC 4631 faces edge-on to Earth about 24 million light years away. Image taken at a wavelength of 6 centimetres by the Very Large Array (VLA) telescope, USA.
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