We have carried out polarimetric observations to investigate the geometry of the magnetic field in the giant molecular cloud Monoceros R2. This study is based upon deep R-band CCD polarimetry, covering a total area of 0.5 deg2 of the giant molecular cloud. The data were calibrated using a new technique that relies on obtaining broad-band photometry of stars simultaneously with polarimetric photometry of the Mon R2 fields, thus providing an accurate means of measuring the electric vectors of starlight which is polarized by the foreground dust grains aligned by the magnetic field in the Mon R2 GMC. In this work, (1) we were able to continuously trace magnetic field lines from the largest scales in Mon R2 to the detailed structure of the field in the dense core, as determined from infrared polarimetry; and (2) we have found that the ambient field is apparently modified by a large-scale structure in the Mon R2 cloud. The mean angle of polarization for the complete sample we measured is 158°, which is roughly coincident with the local Galactic magnetic field (155°). The dispersion in the angle of polarization is 33°, similar to that found in the Orion GMC. The dispersion in angle of polarization for stars located along the western side of the three CCD fields is 22°. The CCD fields are bisected by a dense ridge of gas defining the boundary of an expanding gas shell that recent observational results at millimeter wavelengths now reveal dominates the Mon R2 GMC. Our results suggest that the expanding shell has distorted the magnetic field lines extending from the core to the northern gas structure comprising Mon R2.
- ISM: individual (Monoceros R2)
- ISM: magnetic fields
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science