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Astron. Astrophys. 321, 305-310 (1997)

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5. Conclusions

We have developed a new approach to measure directly [FORMULA] averaged along the line of sight to pulsars as a primary parameter. Because of the method used the accuracy in the measurement of the physically important [FORMULA] is very high. We can measure µGauss values of [FORMULA] with errors of the order of [FORMULA] Gauss. The measurement can be done in an extremely simple experimental setup suitable for absentee long-term monitoring. By following the variation of [FORMULA] as the line of sight pulsar-observer moves with time we will be able to determine decorrelation distance scales for magnetic field structures, a much more accurate method than using sets of background sources (e.g. Lazio et al. 1990), which, in spite of their angular proximity, may be located at different distances from the observer and have different DM s and RM s. Determination of decorrelation scales is very important for magnetic field model construction, it indicates levels of turbulence and percentages of randomized magnetic fields, both strongly related to dynamics of interstellar matter (e.g. Troland & Heiles 1986). In addition the comparison of magnetic field, ionized and neutral gas components through the use of DM variations and HI absorption in the line of sight towards certain pulsars may provide insight into the distribution of the magnetic field in the interstellar medium. At present it seems that the interstellar medium has a substantially stronger magnetic field in the high density cold HI clouds (Troland & Heiles 1986) and a weaker magnetic field in the rest of the volume.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998