“Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.” –Michael Faraday
And yet, it’s often incredibly difficult to use those laws of nature — even if they’re as simple as can be — to actually measure and quantitatively understand the Universe around us. Perhaps one of the most glaring examples is magnetism.
Sure, it’s easy to visualize a magnetic field if you’ve got a set of iron filings and a laboratory to experiment in, but what about the distant stars? What of entire galaxies? They’re thought to have magnetic fields, just as our Sun does. But we can’t measure the coronal loops so easily for objects thousands, millions or billions of times as distant.
Yet, we have our techniques, based on how light interacts with magnetic fields. Come see how we map the Universe’s magnetism from afar!