Magnetic fields pervade the Milky Way and dominate cosmic ray propagation, interstellar medium dynamics and probably star formation. Despite its importance, surprisingly little is known about the strength and structure of the magnetic field in the Galactic disk and halo.
The newly developed observational method of Rotation Measure Synthesis will revolutionize our knowledge about the magnetized Galactic ecosystem. This is not only important for Galactic scientists, but is also crucial for interpretation of cosmological data such as the polarized Cosmic Microwave Background or the Epoch of Reionization. A global consortium has been founded to perform the required surveys in both northern and southern hemisphere over an unprecedented wide frequency range.
Haverkorn is an active member of the consortium and Principal Investigator of the all-southern-sky survey which is a crucial part of the project. She intends to set up a research group at host institute ASTRON which will become the European center for Galactic magnetic field research.
ASTRON is leading the development and exploitation of the innovative next-generation radio telescope LOFAR with exquisite resolution and sensitivity to weak Galactic magnetic fields. Haverkorn's all-northern-sky spectro-polarimetric survey with LOFAR will for the first time characterize the magnetized halo, clarify the origin and evolution of Galactic magnetism, and allow accurate polarized foreground subtraction from cosmological measurements.
Haverkorn's large expertise in radio polarimetry will also be very useful in calibration and testing of the telescope. In particular, she will perform an initial polarized calibrator survey which will provide a calibrator catalog for all future LOFAR users, will test the polarization pipeline, and will allow improvement of Galactic magnetic field models.
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