Polarization power spectra and dust cloud morphology

  • Context: In the framework of studying cosmic microwave background polarization and characterizing its Galactic foregrounds, the angular power spectrum analysis of the thermal dust polarization map has led to intriguing evidence of an E/B asymmetry and a positive TE correlation. The interpretation of these observations is the subject of theoretical and simulation-driven studies in which the correlation between the density structure of the interstellar medium (ISM) and the magnetic field appears to be a key aspect. In this context, and when the magnetized ISM structures are modeled in three dimensions, dust clouds are generally considered to be filamentary structures only, but both filamentary and sheet-like shapes are supported by observational and theoretical evidence. Aims: We aim to study the influence of the cloud shape and its connection to the local magnetic field, as well as the influence from the viewing angle, on the angular power spectra measured on thermal dust polarization maps; we specifically focus on the dependence of the E/B power asymmetry and TE correlation. Methods: To this end, we simulated realistic interstellar clouds with both filament-like and sheet-like shapes using the software ASTERION, which also allowed us to generate synthetic maps of thermal dust polarized emission with an area of 400 square degrees. Then, we computed their polarization power spectra in the multipole range ℓ ϵ [100, 500] and focused on the E/B power asymmetry, quantified through the ℛEB ratio, and the correlation coefficient rTE between Τ and Ε modes. We quantified the dependence of ℛEB and rTE values on the offset angle (between the longest cloud axis and local magnetic field lines) and inclination angle (between the line of sight and the magnetic field) for both types of cloud shapes, either embedded in a regular magnetic field or coupled to a nonregular field to mimic turbulence. Results: We find that both types of cloud shapes cover the same regions of the (ℛEB, rTE) parameter space. The dependence on the inclination and offset angles is similar for both shapes, although sheet-like structures generally show larger scatter than filamentary structures. In addition to the known dependence on the offset angle, we find a strong dependence of ℛEB and rTE on the inclination angle. Conclusions: The very fact that filament-like and sheet-like structures may lead to polarization power spectra with similar (ℛEB,rTE) values complicates their interpretation. We argue that interpreting them solely in terms of filament characteristics is risky, and in future analyses, this degeneracy should be accounted for, as should the connection to the magnetic field geometry. Our results based on maps of 400 square degrees clarify that the overall geometrical arrangement of the magnetized ISM surrounding the observer leaves its marks on polarization power spectra.

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Author:Anna Konstantinou, Vincent Pelgrims, F. Fuchs, Konstantinos Tassis
Parent Title (English):Astronomy & Astrophysics
Document Type:Article (specialist journals)
Date of OPUS upload:2023/02/01
Date of first Publication:2022/08/01
Publishing University:Hochschule Trier
Release Date:2023/03/02
Tag:ISM: magnetic fields; cosmic background radiation; dust; extinction; methods: numerical; polarization; submillimeter: ISM
GND Keyword:Kosmische Hintergrundstrahlung; Polarisation; Kosmischer Staub; Interstellare Materie; Interstellares Magnetfeld
Volume:663 (July 2022)
Article Number:A175
Page Number:15
First Page:1
Last Page:15
Departments:FB Informatik + Therapiewissenschaft
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 52 Astronomie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International