HAWC+/SOFIA Polarimetry in L1688: Relative Orientation of Magnetic Field and Elongated Cloud Structure

Dennis Lee, Marc Berthoud, Che Yu Chen, Erin G. Cox, Jacqueline A. Davidson, Frankie J. Encalada, Laura M. Fissel, Rachel Harrison, Woojin Kwon, Di Li, Zhi Yun Li, Leslie W. Looney, Giles Novak, Sarah Sadavoy, Fabio P. Santos, Dominique Segura-Cox, Ian Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We present a study of the relative orientation between the magnetic field and elongated cloud structures for the ρ Oph A and ρ Oph E regions in L1688 in the Ophiuchus molecular cloud. Combining inferred magnetic field orientation from HAWC+ 154 μm observations of polarized thermal emission with column density maps created using Herschel submillimeter observations, we find consistent perpendicular relative alignment at scales of 0.02 pc (33.″6 at d ≈ 137 pc) using the histogram of relative orientations (HRO) technique. This supports the conclusions of previous work using Planck polarimetry and extends the results to higher column densities. Combining this HAWC+ HRO analysis with a new Planck HRO analysis of L1688, the transition from parallel to perpendicular alignment in L1688 is observed to occur at a molecular hydrogen column density of approximately 1021.7 cm-2. This value for the alignment transition column density agrees well with values found for nearby clouds via previous studies using only Planck observations. Using existing turbulent, magnetohydrodynamic simulations of molecular clouds formed by colliding flows as a model for L1688, we conclude that the molecular hydrogen volume density associated with this transition is approximately ∼104 cm-3. We discuss the limitations of our analysis, including incomplete sampling of the dense regions in L1688 by HAWC+.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'HAWC+/SOFIA Polarimetry in L1688: Relative Orientation of Magnetic Field and Elongated Cloud Structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this