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Galaxies 2018, 6(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies6040133

Simulations of the Polarized Sky for the SKA: How to Constrain Intracluster Magnetic Fields

1
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat 6/2, I-40127 Bologna, Italy
2
INAF—Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Via della Scienza 5, I-09047 Selargius, Italy
3
INAF—Istituto di Radioastronomia, Via Gobetti 101, I-40129 Bologna, Italy
4
Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 29 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Power of Faraday Tomography)
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Abstract

The advent of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will have unprecedented impact on the study of magnetic fields in galaxy clusters. This instrument will be able to perform all-sky surveys in polarization, allowing us to build a rotation-measure (RM) grid based on an enormous number of sources. However, it is not always obvious how to extract correct information about the strength and the structure of magnetic fields from the RM grid. The simulations presented here help us to investigate this topic as they consist of full-Stokes idealized (because we did not add thermal noise) images of a pair of galaxy clusters between 950–1760 GHz, i.e., the SKA1-MID band 2. These images include not just cluster-embedded radio sources but also foreground and background discrete radio sources populating the simulated portion of the universe. To study the magnetic fields of the simulated galaxy clusters, we applied the RM synthesis technique on the simulated images and compared the “true” cluster RM values with those inferred from RM synthesis. The accuracy of our methodology is guarantee by the excellent agreement that we observed when we considered only the signal from the background radio sources. The presence of a Faraday screen, foreground, and cluster sources, introduces degeneracies and/or ambiguities that make the interpretation of the results more difficult. View Full-Text
Keywords: polarization; magnetic fields; galaxies; galaxy clusters; numerical simulations polarization; magnetic fields; galaxies; galaxy clusters; numerical simulations
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Loi, F.; Murgia, M.; Govoni, F.; Vacca, V.; Prandoni, I.; Li, H.; Feretti, L.; Giovannini, G. Simulations of the Polarized Sky for the SKA: How to Constrain Intracluster Magnetic Fields. Galaxies 2018, 6, 133.

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