AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 25. The Milky Way Galaxy
Display, Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 10:00am-6:30pm, Empire Hall South

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

D. P. Clemens (IAR/Boston U.), J. Bookbinder, A. Goodman, H. Kristen, P. Myers, P. Padoan, K. Wood (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), M. H. Heyer (FCRAO/UMass), C. Heiles (UCBerkeley), T. J. Jones, J. Dickey (UMinnesota), E. Young, G. Rieke (UArizona), K. Dow (KDmedia), C.D. Dowell (CalTech), B. Draine (Princeton), J. Greaves (JCMT/JAC), U. Klaas (MPIA), R. Laureijs (ESA/ESTEC), A. Lazarian (UWisconsin), B. Shulz (ISO/VILSPA), E. Zweibel (UColorado)

M4 has been proposed this year as a potential new SMEX mission. The central goal of the mission is to measure magnetic field orientations in the interstellar medium of the Milky Way Galaxy to assess the importance of the field in star formation and other physical processes. The measurement technique is far-infrared imaging linear polarimetry, which has been extensively proven from both the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and the recent Infrared Space Observatory. M4 will conduct the first extensive surveys of magnetic field orientations, spanning 1400 square degrees of the dense interstellar medium of the inner Milky Way, 300 square degrees of nearby star-forming dark molecular clouds, and 330 square degrees away from the Galactic plane, chosen to cover regions with infrared cirrus. The M4 instrument consists of a 20 cm cooled telescope, far-infrared light polarization analysis optics, and two 32x32 focal plane array detectors operating around 100 microns wavelength. The M4 spacecraft is a 3-axis stablized pointing platform. The nominal launch date is 1 March 2004. The Pegasus XL is the baseline launch vehicle. The flight portion will span 3-4 months, in a 500 km, Sun-sync orbit. Data will be released in two stages: 6 months and 12 months after the end of the flight portion of the project.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: clemens@bu.edu

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