Submillimeter array observations of magnetic fields in star forming regions

R. Rao, J. M. Girart, D. P. Marrone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


There have been a number of theoretical and computational models which state that magnetic fields play an important role in the process of star formation. Competing theories instead postulate that it is turbulence which is dominant and magnetic fields are weak. The recent installation of a polarimetry system at the Submillimeter Array (SMA) has enabled us to conduct observations that could potentially distinguish between the two theories. Some of the nearby low mass star forming regions show hour-glass shaped magnetic field structures that are consistent with theoretical models in which the magnetic field plays a dominant role. However, there are other similar regions where no significant polarization is detected. Future polarimetry observations made by the Submillimeter Array should be able to increase the sample of observed regions. These measurements will allow us to address observationally the important question of the role of magnetic fields and/or turbulence in the process of star formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComputational Star Formation
EditorsJoao Alves, Bruce G. Elmegreen, Josep M. Girart, Virginia Trimble, Virginia Trimble
Number of pages4
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • i ISM: dust
  • stars: formation
  • techniques: polarimetric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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