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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 29, 2022
  2. Abstract Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud and mostly irradiated by the massive star cluster R136, 30 Doradus is an ideal target to test the leading theory of grain alignment and rotational disruption by RAdiative Torques (RATs). Here, we use publicly available polarized thermal dust emission observations of 30 Doradus at 89, 154, and 214 μ m using SOFIA/HAWC+. We analyze the variation of the dust polarization degree ( p ) with the total emission intensity ( I ), the dust temperature ( T d ), and the gas column density ( N H ) constructed from Herschel data. Themore »30 Doradus complex is divided into two main regions relative to R136, namely North and South. In the North, we find that the polarization degree first decreases and then increases before decreasing again when the dust temperature increases toward the irradiating cluster R136. The first depolarization likely arises from the decrease in grain alignment efficiency toward the dense medium due to the attenuation of the interstellar radiation field and the increase in the gas density. The second trend (the increase of p with T d ) is consistent with the RAT alignment theory. The final trend (the decrease of p with T d ) is consistent with the RAT alignment theory only when the grain rotational disruption by RATs is taken into account. In the South, we find that the polarization degree is nearly independent of the dust temperature, while the grain alignment efficiency is higher around the peak of the gas column density and decreases toward the radiation source. The latter feature is also consistent with the prediction of rotational disruption by RATs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Abstract The alignment of dust grains with the ambient magnetic field produces polarization of starlight as well as thermal dust emission. Using the archival SOFIA/HAWC+ polarimetric data observed toward the ρ Ophiuchus (Oph) A cloud hosted by a B star at 89 and 154 μ m, we find that the fractional polarization of thermal dust emission first increases with the grain temperature and then decreases once the grain temperature exceeds ≃25–32 K. The latter trend differs from the prediction of the popular RAdiative Torques (RATs) alignment theory, which implies a monotonic increase of the polarization fraction with the grain temperature.more »We perform numerical modeling of polarized dust emission for the ρ Oph-A cloud and calculate the degree of dust polarization by simultaneously considering the dust grain alignment and rotational disruption by RATs. Our modeling results could successfully reproduce both the rising and declining trends of the observational data. Moreover, we show that the alignment of only silicate grains or a mixture of silicate–carbon grains within a composite structure can reproduce the observational trends, assuming that all dust grains follow a power-law size distribution. Although there are a number of simplifications and limitations to our modeling, our results suggest grains in the ρ Oph-A cloud have a composite structure, and the grain size distribution has a steeper slope than the standard size distribution for the interstellar medium. Combination of SOFIA/HAWC+ data with JCMT observations 450 and 850  μ m would be useful to test the proposed scenario based on grain alignment and disruption by RATs.« less