J English (U Manitoba), R-J Dettmar and A Miskolczi (Ruhr U),
(UNM), and J Irwin (Queen's U).
accompanied by two giant exoplanets.
Credit: ESO/Bohn et al.
This visible-light image is from the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, while the magnetic field lines - which extend up to 22,500 light-years beyond the galaxy's disc - are revealed (and shown in green) by the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico.
Scientists know that magnetic fields play an important role in many processes within galaxies, such as star formation, but it is not clear how such huge magnetic fields are generated and maintained.
An international team led by Yelena Stein from Germany's Ruhr-Universität Bochum analyzed data from NGC 4217, which has an X-shaped magnetic structure, and found a helix structure and two large bubble structures, called superbubbles.
The latter originate from places where many massive stars explode as supernovae and where stars are formed that emit stellar winds in the process, they say, leading them to suspect a connection between these phenomena.
Analysis also revealed large loop structures in the magnetic fields along the entire galaxy.
The findings are described in a paper (Transport processes and the X-shaped magnetic field of NGC 4217) in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
The second image, taken by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the star TYC 8998-760-1 about 300 light-years away and is,
The two exoplanets orbit their host star at distances of around 160 and 320 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.
This places then much further away from their star than two other gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, are from their host.
Alexander Bohn and colleagues also found the two exoplanets are much heavier than the ones in our Solar System, the inner planet having 14 times Jupiter's mass and the outer one six times.