AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 139 The Ionized ISM: Observations and Theory
Poster, Thursday, January 13, 2005, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[139.16] Studies of Interstellar and Circumstellar Magnetic Field with Aligned Atoms

A. Lazarian, H. Yan (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Population of levels of the hyperfine and fine split ground state of an atom is affected by radiative transitions induced by anisotropic radiation flux. Such aligned atoms precess in the external magnetic field and this affects properties of polarized radiation arising from both scattering and absorption by atoms. As the result the degree of light polarization depends on the direction of the magnetic field. This provides a new tool for studies of astrophysical magnetic fields using optical and UV polarimetry. We provide calculations for several atoms and ions that can be used to study magnetic fields in interplanetary medium, interstellar medius, circumstellar regions and quasars.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.