TX Cam - Polarization
November 4, 2003
VLBA image of the star TX Cam, showing "spots" of maser emission (blue, purple and yellow) from Silicon Monoxide (SiO) molecules forming a shell around the star (see also this image). Approximate size of the star is indicated by red circle (artifically added to image). The maser spots are where the SiO molecules are amplifying radio emission at a frequency of 43 GHz. Blue lines indicate the relative strength and orientation of the electric field vectors in the received radio emission. The orientation provides an indication of the orientation of the star's magnetic field. The magnetic field can be either parallel or perpendicular to these vectors depending on the angle between the magnetic field direction and the line of sight. In most of the inner parts of the star's atmosphere, the magnetic field is probably parallel to the surface of the star. In areas where this pattern is significantly disturbed, researchers believe accelerated mass loss is taking place.
Topics: Acronyms, Optical devices, lasers, Astrophysical maser, Spectral index, Maser, Polarization, Magnetic field, Magnetism, Radio astronomy