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Session 24 - Star Formation in the Galaxy & the LMC.
Display session, Tuesday, June 10
South Main Hall,

[24.01] M4: The Milky Way Magnetic Field Mapping Mission

D. Clemens (Boston U.), T. J. Jones (U.Minn), A. Goodman, P. Myers, G. Field (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), G. Rieke, E. Young (U.Arizona), C. McKee, C. Heiles (U.C.Berkeley), B. Draine (Princeton), R. Hildebrand (U.Chicago), E. Zweibel (U.Colo), S. Lord (IPAC), B. Ellis (Ball Aerospace)

The roles played by magnetic fields in the star-forming regions of the Milky Way Galaxy are largely unknown. To address this knowledge gap, we have developed a concept for a new, focused, small explorer mission. The Milky Way Magnetic Field Mapping Mission, or M4 will consist of a cryogenically cooled 40 cm aperture telescope illuminating twin 32 \times 32 pixel germanium arrays, already developed for SIRTF. Operating in a unique, no-moving-parts linear polarimetry mode, M4 will be used to measure the magnetic field structure in the dense interstellar medium. For broadband operation at 100\mum, M4 will be diffraction limited for a 60 arcsec beam, and pixel sampling of 24 arcseconds will support detailed model testing and superresolution image reconstruction. Since the expected linear polarization is around 2%, ensuring that M4 can map field geometry with better than 10^\circ uncertainty requires operations with S/N beyond 150. This challenge will be met by a combination of hardware, software, and operations/observing solutions.

The minimum cryogen lifetime of four months will permit mapping a large piece of the Milky Way (\pm 50^\circ of galactic longitude and \pm 5^\circ of latitude) in four weeks, much of the nearby Sco/Oph dark cloud region (three weeks), a significant piece of infrared cirrus (two weeks), and enable a very robust guest investigator program (at least 3 weeks duration) which is expected to highlight extragalactic observations.

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