Ambipolar diffusion and far-infrared polarization from the galactic circumnuclear disk

S. J. Desch, W. G. Roberge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We describe an implicit prediction of the accretion disk models constructed by Wardle & Königl for the circumnuclear disk (CND) of gas and dust near the Galactic center: supersonic ambipolar diffusion, an essential dynamical ingredient of the Wardle-Königl disks, will cause the alignment of dust grains because of a process described by Roberge, Hanany, & Messinger. We calculate synthetic maps of the polarized thermal emission which would be caused by ambipolar alignment in the preferred Wardle-Königl model. Our maps are in reasonable agreement with 100 μm polarimetry of the CND if we assume that the grains have shapes similar to those of grains in nearby molecular clouds and that the CND contains a disordered magnetic field in energy equipartition with its ordered field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L115-L118
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART II
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxy: center
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Infrared: ISM: continuum
  • MHD
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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