Low-frequency Faraday rotation measures towards pulsars using LOFAR: probing the 3D Galactic halo magnetic field

Abstract : We determined Faraday rotation measures (RMs) towards 137 pulsars in the northern sky, using Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) observations at 110-190 MHz. This low-frequency RM catalogue, the largest to date, improves the precision of existing RM measurements on average by a factor of 20 - due to the low frequency and wide bandwidth of the data, aided by the RM-synthesis method. We report RMs towards 25 pulsars for the first time. The RMs were corrected for ionospheric Faraday rotation to increase the accuracy of our catalogue to approximate to 0.1 rad m(-2). The ionospheric RM correction is currently the largest contributor to the measurement uncertainty. In addition, we find that the Faraday dispersion functions towards pulsars are extremely Faraday thin - mostly less than 0.001 rad m(-2). We use these new precise RM measurements (in combination with existing RMs, dispersion measures, and distance estimates) to estimate the scale height of the Galactic halo magnetic field: 2.0 +/- 0.3 kpc for Galactic quadrants I and II above and below the Galactic plane (we also evaluate the scale height for these regions individually). Overall, our initial low-frequency catalogue provides valuable information about the 3D structure of the Galactic magnetic field.
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C. Sobey, A. Bilous, Jean-Mathias Grießmeier, J W T Hessels, A Karastergiou, et al.. Low-frequency Faraday rotation measures towards pulsars using LOFAR: probing the 3D Galactic halo magnetic field. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2019, 484 (3), pp.3646-3664. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stz214⟩. ⟨insu-02149819⟩

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