Detailed Magnetic Field Morphology of the Vela C Molecular Cloud from the BLASTPol 2012 flight

Ward-Thompson, Derek orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1140-2761 (2015) Detailed Magnetic Field Morphology of the Vela C Molecular Cloud from the BLASTPol 2012 flight. In: American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #225, id.128.07, January 2015.

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In order to understand the role of magnetic fields in the process of star formation, we require detailed observations of field morphology on scales ranging from clouds to cores. However, ground based millimetre/submillimetre polarimetry is usually limited to small maps of relatively dense regions. BLASTPol, the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Sub-mm Telescope for Polarimetry, maps linear polarization at 250, 350 and 500 microns with arcminute resolution. Its high sensitivity and resolving power allow BLASTPol to bridge the gap in spatial scales between the polarization capabilities of Planck and ALMA.I will present early results from the second flight of BLASTPol, focusing on our observations of the Vela C molecular cloud, an early stage intermediate mass star forming region (d~700 pc). With thousands of independent measurements of magnetic field direction, this is the most detailed sub-mm polarization map of a GMC to date. The field we observe in this elongated cloud exhibits a coherent, large-scale ~ 90 degree bend between its high latitude and low latitude edges. I will discuss what we can learn about star formation in Vela C from the combination of BLASTPol polarization maps and velocity information from molecular line observations, and what the variation of polarization strength across the cloud can tell us about dust grain alignment in GMCs.

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