Universiteit Leiden

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Exploring the magnetic, turbulent Milky Way through radio waves

Promotor: Prof.dr. H. J. A. Röttgering, Co-Promotor: M. Haverkorn

M. Iacobelli
25 februari 2014
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Cosmic magnetism is a phenomenon observed across a huge range of spatial scales. Magnetic fields exists on planets, stars and nebulae up to galaxies and clusters of galaxies. As a rule of thumb, the larger the typical size of the object, the lower the magnitude of its magnetic field. Regardless of their magnitude, magnetic fields play a relevant role in all of these environments and contribute to a wide spectrum of phenomena. This thesis deals with the interplay between interstellar magnetic fields and turbulent warm phase of the Galactic interstellar medium (ISM). Observational investigations in the radio domain of MHD turbulence in the ISM are challenging and require high performance facilities. New generation aperture array radio telescopes such as LOFAR allow observational studies of the interstellar turbulence with unprecedented accuracy. In the framework of the scientific activity of this Ph.D. project, I also worked as a commissioner of LOFAR, performing data reduction and software testing. In this thesis, I present four observational studies on the MHD turbulence in the warm ionized ISM regarding two complementary science cases: mapping of the magneto-ionic structures in the ISM (Chapter 2) and characterizing the magnetic turbulence of the diffuse warm ionized ISM (Chapters 3, 4 and 5). Note that the study described in Chapter 3 is based on the results of my commissioning activity.