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Astron. Astrophys. 332, 809-813 (1998)

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Research Note

A simple model of magnetically induced warps

E. Battaner and J. Jiménez-Vicente

Departamento de Física Teórica y del Cosmos, Universidad de Granada, E-18071 Granada, Spain

Received 4 April 1997 / Accepted 27 October 1997


Assuming the magnetic hypothesis for the formation of warps, we deduce a very simple formula for the warp curve in an idealized scenario. According to this formula the warp rises as the third power of radius in the innermost warped region, reaches the maximum slope at intermediate radii and has an asymptotic slope coincident with the direction of the extragalactic magnetic field. In most cases, however, the galaxy's limited size prevents the observation of the full curve. Even though the model is highly simplified, it basically reproduces real warp curves, in particular the 21 cm warp curve of NGC 5907. If the magnetic model were considered to be correct, the fitting of warp curves could allow rough estimations of the strength and direction of the magnetic field. We also propose a magnetic field distribution for the outermost part of the galaxy, matching the boundary conditions of being azimuthal inside, and constant at infinity. We use this magnetic field distribution to show that the assumptions made to obtain the warp curve with our simple model cannot introduce important errors.

Key words: galaxies: magnetic fields – galaxies: structure

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: March 30, 1998