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Young galaxy's magnetism surprises astronomers

  1. Jan 8, 2009 #1
    Discovery challenges prevailing model!


    Astronomers have made the first direct measurement of the magnetic field in a young, distant galaxy, and the result is a big surprise.

    Looking at a faraway protogalaxy seen as it was 6.5 billion years ago, the scientists measured a magnetic field at least 10 times stronger than that of our own Milky Way. They had expected just the opposite.

    The scientists reported their findings in the October 2 issue of the journal Nature.

    Let us discuss these findings.

    A galaxy "6.5 billion years ago" is found to have "a magnetic field at least 10 times stronger than that of our own Milky Way".

    Now think about that one for a minute.

    Let us also discuss what a magnetic field is comprised of:

    Magnetic fields surround and are created by electric currents, magnetic dipoles, and changing electric fields.

    I for one, find the fact that a 6.5 billion year old galaxy has a magnetic field 10 times the strength of the Milky Way highly disturbing. Considering we know that magnetic fields are a product of current, It seems odd to me that we would find any magnetic fields at all in deep space, let alone massive amounts of them strung in all dimensions.

    Looking at scholarpedia's definition of galactic magnetic fields:

    The origin of the first magnetic fields in the Universe is still a mystery (Widrow 2002).

    So how is it that we can create models of scientific certainty that describe galactic formation when we still don't have a solid grasp on the mechanisms responsible for the creation of galactic magnetic fields?

    Anyone else have any issues with this?

    I also find it odd that the hubble deep field images show fully formed spiral galaxies all the way out to the edge of the observable universe.

    Anyone have any problems with that?
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2009 #2


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    This seems to be the paper associated with this report (link is to the preprint):

    According to ADS, this paper has already been cited by three others; obviously a hot topic.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Jan 8, 2009 #3
    Hot topic indeed.

    Perhaps the flow of electrons moving toward charge equalization will be considered as a possible cause this time around.
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