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Methanol reveals magnetic fields in space

Image   •   Jan 29, 2018 16:00 GMT

Magnetic fields play an important role in the places where most massive stars are born. This illustration shows the surroundings of a forming massive star, and the bright regions where radio signals from methanol can be found. The bright spots represent methanol masers – natural lasers that are common in the dense environments where massive stars form – and the curved lines represent the magnetic field. Thanks to new calculations by astrochemists, astronomers can now start to investigate magnetic fields in space by measuring the radio signals from methanol molecules in these bright sources.
License Media Use (?)
Photographer / Source Wolfgang Steffen/Boy Lankhaar et al. (molecules: Wikimedia Commons/Ben Mills)
Size 5.79 MB
Format .jpg
Image dimensions 5639 x 4037 pixels