Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Spangler, Steven R

First Committee Member

Lang, Cornelia

Second Committee Member

Brown, Shea

Third Committee Member

Gayley, Kenneth

Fourth Committee Member

Kerton, Charles

Fifth Committee Member

Mutel, Robert


Massive young stars dynamically modify their surroundings, altering their stellar nurseries and the gas that exists between stars. With my research, I assess the modification of the Galactic magnetic field within HII regions and stellar bubbles associated with OB stars. Because HII regions are plasmas, magnetic fields should be important to the dynamics of the region. Understanding how the magnetic field is modified in these structures is critical for inputs to simulations and for assessing stellar feedback. To obtain information on the properties of the magnetic field, I measure the Faraday rotation of linearly polarized radio waves that pass through the plasma of the HII region.

In this thesis, I present results of Faraday rotation studies of two Galactic \HII regions. The first is the Rosette Nebula (l = 206 deg, b = -1.2 deg), and the second is IC 1805 (l = 135 deg, b = 0.9 deg), which is associated with the W4 Superbubble. I measure positive rotation measure (RM) values in excess of +40 to +1200 rad m^-2 due to the shell of the Rosette nebula and a background RM of +147 rad m^-2 due to the general interstellar medium in this area of the Galactic plane. In the area of IC 1805, I measure negative RM values between +600 and --800 rad m^-2 due to the HII region. The sign of the RM across each HII region is consistent with the expected polarity of the large-scale Galactic magnetic field that follows the Perseus spiral arm in the clockwise direction, as suggested by Van Eck et al. (2011, ApJ, 728, 14).

I find that the Rosette Nebula and IC 1805 constitute a "Faraday rotation anomaly", or a region of increased RM relative to the general Galactic background value. Although the RM observed on lines of sight through the region vary substantially, the |RM| due to the nebula is commonly 100 -- 1000 rad m^-2. In spite of this, the observed RMs are not as large as simple, analytic models of magnetic field amplification in HII regions (such as by magnetic flux conservation in a swept-up shell) might indicate. This suggests that the Galactic field is not increased by a substantial factor within the ionized gas in an HII region. Finally, these results show intriguing indications that some of the largest values of |RM| occur for lines of sight that pass outside the fully ionized shell of the IC 1805 HII region, but pass through the Photodissociation Region (PDR) associated with IC 1805.


HII Regions, Interstellar Medium, Magnetic Fields


xviii, 185 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-185).


This thesis has been optimized for improved web viewing. If you require the original version, contact the University Archives at the University of Iowa:


Copyright © 2018 Allison Hainline Costa

Included in

Physics Commons