Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Probing cosmic-ray transport with radio synchrotron harps in the Galactic center


Enßlin,  Torsten
Computational Structure Formation, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Thomas, T., Pfrommer, C., & Enßlin, T. (2020). Probing cosmic-ray transport with radio synchrotron harps in the Galactic center. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 890(2): L18. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab7237.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-BD8C-8
Recent observations with the MeerKAT radio telescope reveal a unique population of faint nonthermal filaments pervading the central molecular zone, a region rich in molecular gas near the Galactic center. Some of those filaments are organized into groups of almost parallel filaments, seemingly sorted by their length, so that their morphology resembles a harp with radio-emitting "strings." We argue that the synchrotron-emitting GeV electrons of these radio harps have been consecutively injected by the same source (a massive star or pulsar) into spatially intermittent magnetic fiber bundles within a magnetic flux tube or via time-dependent injection events. After escaping from this source, the propagation of cosmic-ray (CR) electrons inside a flux tube is governed by the theory of CR transport. We propose to use observations of radio harp filaments to gain insight into the specifics of CR propagation along magnetic fields of which there are two principle modes: CRs could either stream with self-excited magnetohydrodynamic waves or diffuse along the magnetic field. To disentangle these possibilities, we conduct hydrodynamical simulations of either purely diffusing or streaming CR electrons and compare the resulting brightness distributions to the observed synchrotron profiles of the radio harps. We find compelling evidence that CR streaming is the dominant propagation mode for GeV CRs in one of the radio harps. Observations at higher angular resolution should detect more radio harps and may help to disentangle projection effects of the possibly three-dimensional flux-tube structure of the other radio harps.