Scientists measure magnetic field of most distant galaxy yet

This suggests that the magnetic field stays fairly constant throughout the galaxy's life.
By Joseph Scalise | Aug 31, 2017
Magnetism is a mysteryit is present throughout the universe, according to scientists, but they do not know where it began or why. An international team of physicists reported making progress toward some answers, however, with successful measurements of the magnetic field a galaxy that is five billion light-years away. It is the most distant magnetic field any scientists on Earth have ever observed.

Since the galaxy's magnetic data took five-billion years to reach Earth, the physicists are really seeing what the galaxy's magnetic field was like five-billion years ago, when the galaxy was relatively young, the physicists noted in a paper published Monday in Nature. From this, they concluded that a galaxy's magnetic field emerges early in a galaxy's lifetime.

The physicists also compared the magnetic field of this galaxywhich is codenamed CLASS B1152+199with that of our Milky Way and other galaxies closer to us and found that it was mostly similar to them. This suggests that the magnetic field stays fairly constant throughout the galaxy's life.

These findings of early-emerging magnetic fields that maintain constancy over billions of years further imply that potentially every galaxy or celestial mass has magnetism, making it a universal cosmic force, suggested Bryan Gaensler, co-author of the paper and an astronomer at the University of Toronto, Canada, said: "It means that magnetism is generated very early in a galaxy's life by natural processes, and thus that almost every heavenly body is magnetic. The implication is that we need to understand magnetism to understand the Universe."


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