Sunday, October 15, 2017

Magnetic fields in circumstellar disks: The potential of Zeeman observations


Brauer et al



Recent high angular resolution polarimetric continuum observations of circumstellar disks provide new insights into their magnetic field. However, direct constraints are limited to the plane of sky component of the magnetic field. Observations of Zeeman split spectral lines are a potential approach to enhance these insights by providing complementary information.


We investigate which constraints for magnetic fields in circumstellar disks can be obtained from Zeeman observations of the 113 GHz CN lines. Furthermore, we analyze the requirements to perform these observations and their dependence on selected quantities.


We simulate the Zeeman splitting with the radiative transfer (RT) code POLARIS (Reissl et al. 2016) extended by our Zeeman splitting RT extension ZRAD (Brauer et al. 2017), which is based on the line RT code Mol3D (Ober et al. 2015).


We find that Zeeman observations of the 113 GHz CN lines provide significant insights into the magnetic field of circumstellar disks. However, with the capabilities of recent and upcoming instrument/observatories, even spatially unresolved observations would be challenging. Nevertheless, these observations are feasible for the most massive disks with a strong magnetic field and high abundance of CN/H. The most restrictive quantity is the magnetic field strength, which should be at least in the order of ∼1 mG. In addition, the inclination of the disk should be around 60deg to preserve the ability to derive the line-of-sight (LOS) magnetic field strength and to obtain a sufficiently high circularly polarized flux.

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