Turbulent Plasma: Uncovering the Source of the Universe’s Magnetic Fields

Turbulent Plasma: Uncovering the Source of the Universe’s Magnetic Fields | Enterprise Wired

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According to findings from Columbia University, the origin of magnetic fields throughout the cosmos may be in turbulent plasma. Their research shows that these plasmas, which are prevalent in a variety of contexts, have the ability to spontaneously generate and enhance magnetic fields, illuminating the mechanism by which magnetic fields can extend over enormous distances.

Magnetic fields’ origin has long been a subject of discussion. The fresh study provides hints about their genesis

Your refrigerator isn’t the only appliance with magnets on it. Additionally magnetized are the sun, the moon, the stars, galaxies, and intergalactic space. The more areas in the universe that scientists have searched for magnetic fields, the more of them they have discovered. But the reason why that is the case and the source of those magnetic fields have remained a mystery and a focus of research.

NASA’s flying Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) observatory captured the magnetic field in the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), which was superimposed on a Hubble telescope image of the galaxy. The picture displays infrared photos of dust particles in the M51 galaxy. Although it is also being tugged in the direction of the next galaxy to the right of the frame, its magnetic orientation mostly matches the spiral form of the galaxy. Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); NASA, the SOFIA scientific team, and A. Borlaff.

Magnetic fields are frequently taken for granted. Despite being all around us, we cannot see them. They span the stars, planets, and galaxies as well as sticking our magnets to the refrigerator. Scientists are still unsure of the magnetic fields’ genesis. Particularly in the early cosmos when matter was scarce and cold, how did they initially form? Recent findings illuminate how that would have been possible.

According to a recent study that was published in Physical Review Letters, a group of scientists from Columbia University conducted simulations to explain the occurrence. The experiment demonstrated that magnetic fields can be created from nothing and grown exponentially through turbulence, the random and chaotic motion of plasma particles.

Evolution of Special Relativistic Turbulent Plasma

Knowledge of the Magnetic Field’s Origins

A fresh study from Columbia University researchers sheds light on the origin of these fields. Models were utilized by the research team to demonstrate that magnetic fields can emerge spontaneously in turbulence.

In addition to creating new magnetic fields, their simulations demonstrated that the turbulent plasmas can also increase magnetic fields once they have already been created. This clarifies how magnetic fields that initially form on small sizes can occasionally later spread across great distances.

a composite image showing the emergence and development of magnetic fields in turbulent plasma, from small-scale weak fields (top left) to large-scale strong fields (bottom right). Authorized by Columbia University

In the purest, vast, and remote regions of our cosmos, swirling plasma particles in tumultuous motion can spontaneously give birth to new magnetic fields, according to recent research, Sironi said.

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