Multiwavelength Polarimetry of the Filamentary Cloud IC 5146. II. Magnetic Field Structures

Jia Wei Wang, Shih Ping Lai, Dan P. Clemens, Patrick M. Koch, Chakali Eswaraiah, Wen Ping Chen, Anil K. Pandey

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7 Scopus citations


The IC 5146 cloud is a nearby star-forming region in Cygnus, consisting of molecular gas filaments in a variety of evolutionary stages. We used optical and near-infrared polarization data toward the IC 5146 cloud, reported in the first paper of this series, to reveal the magnetic fields in this cloud. Using the newly released Gaia data, we found that the IC 5146 cloud may contain two separate clouds: A first cloud, including the densest main filament at a distance of 600 pc, and a second cloud, associated with the Cocoon Nebula at a distance of 800 pc. The spatially averaged H-band polarization map revealed a well-ordered magnetic field morphology, with the polarization segments perpendicular to the main filament but parallel to the nearby subfilaments, consistent with models assuming that the magnetic field is regulating cloud evolution. We estimated the magnetic field strength using the Davis-Chandrasekhar-Fermi method and found that the magnetic field strength scales with volume density with a power-law index of 0.5 in the density range from to 3000 cm-3, which indicates an anisotropic cloud contraction with a preferred direction along the magnetic field. In addition, the mass-to-flux ratio of the cloud gradually changes from subcritical to supercritical from the cloud envelope to the deep regions. These features are consistent with strong magnetic field star formation models and suggest that the magnetic field is important in regulating the evolution of the IC 5146 cloud.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


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