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Astron. Astrophys. 335, 19-25 (1998)

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Cosmic magnetic fields in large scale filaments and sheets

Dongsu Ryu 1, Hyesung Kang 1 and Peter L. Biermann 2

1 Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195-1580, USA
2 Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, Bonn, Germany (ryu@canopus.chungnam.ac.kr; kang@canopus.chungnam.ac.kr; plbiermann@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de)

Received 11 December 1997 / Accepted 23 March 1998


We consider the possibility that cosmic magnetic field, instead of being uniformly distributed, is strongly correlated with the large scale structure of the universe. Then, the observed rotational measure of extra-galactic radio sources would be caused mostly by the clumpy magnetic field in cosmological filaments/sheets rather than by a uniform magnetic field, which was often assumed in previous studies. As a model for the inhomogeneity of the cosmological magnetic field, we adopt a cosmological hydrodynamic simulation, where the field is passively included, and can approximately represent the real field distribution with an arbitrary normalization for the field strength. Then, we derive an upper limit of the magnetic field strength by comparing the observed limit of rotational measure with the rotational measure expected from the magnetic field geometry in the simulated model universe. The resulting upper limit to the magnetic field in filaments and sheets is [FORMULA] which is [FORMULA] times higher than the previously quoted values. This value is close to, but larger than, the equipartition magnetic field strength in filaments and sheets. The amplification mechanism of the magnetic field to the above strength is uncertain. The implications of such a strength of the cosmic magnetic field are discussed.

Key words: cosmology: large scale structure of Universe – magnetic fields – MHD – cosmology: theory

Present address: Department of Astronomy & Space Science, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305-764, Korea

Present address: Department of Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Send offprint requests to: Dongsu Ryu, (ryu@canopus.chungnam.ac.kr)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 12, 1998