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Magnetic fields could hold the key to star formation
- For the first time, extremely subtle magnetic fields in the Pillars of Creation – a structure made famous thanks to an iconic image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope – have been discovered and mapped.
- This innovative research has shown that the magnetic fields that run along the lengths of the Pillars are at a different angle to the regions surrounding the Pillars, revealing the reason behind their unusual structure.
- This ground-breaking discovery suggests that the Pillars have evolved due to the strength of the magnetic field and that the Pillars are held up thanks to magnetic support, suggesting that stars could be formed by the collapse of clumps of gas being slowed down by magnetic fields, and resulting in a pillar-like formation.
- Professor Derek Ward-Thompson, Head of the School of Physical Sciences and Computing at UCLan, said: "The technology employed to view the minutiae of the magnetic fields is truly remarkable, and the fact that we have been able to observe the incredibly weak magnetic field with this sensitive instrument will help us to solve the mystery of the formation of stars."
- Explore further: Pillars of destruction: Colourful Carina Nebula blasted by brilliant nearby stars More information: "First Observations of the Magnetic Field Inside the Pillars of Creation: Results from the BISTRO Survey," Kate Pattle et al., 2018, Astrophysical Journal Letters: arxiv.org/abs/1805.11554more