Fast magnetohydrodynamic density waves in spiral galaxies

Lou, Yu-Qing; Han, J. L.; Fan, Zuhui (1999). Fast magnetohydrodynamic density waves in spiral galaxies. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 308(1), L1-L5. Blackwell Publishing Ltd 10.1046/j.1365-8711.1999.02882.x

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The newly observed large-scale structures of a southern grand-design spiral galaxy NGC 2997 in total and polarized radio-continuum emission together with their overall correlations with the known optical spiral structure are physically interpreted in terms of fast magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) density waves in contrast to slow MHD density waves in NGC 6946. The global spiral pattern of such fast MHD density waves extends from the very centre, where the disc rotates almost rigidly within ∼0.5 arcmin, all the way to the outer disc with a more or less flat rotation curve. To strengthen the case, several known features of spiral galaxies M51 and IC 342 are referred to and their pattern identifications discussed. It is emphasized that the nature of a magnetized spiral galaxy would be much better appreciated by examining large-scale structures in optical, atomic hydrogen H i, total and polarized radio-continuum and infrared emission together. As various star-formation processes occur concurrently and/or sequentially in spiral arms of high gas concentration, relatively broad and fuzzy H i arms, roughly coincident with optical arms in the inner disc, are expected to extend from the extremities of fading optical arms further into the outer gas disc. We predict that the south-east ‘magnetic arm’, apparently isolated from any optical features, in total and polarized radio-continuum intensity maps of NGC 2997 should be associated with an H i gas arm yet to be detected in 21-cm line emission.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences




Blackwell Publishing Ltd




Marceline Brodmann

Date Deposited:

22 Sep 2020 15:35

Last Modified:

22 Sep 2020 15:35

Publisher DOI:





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