Presentation #117.01 in the session Galactic Ecosystems: Magnetic Fields and Dust Physics.
Molecular clouds in the interstellar medium that are forming stars are magnetized. The magnetic fields of these clouds may be inherited from the larger galactic interstellar medium. The orientation of filamentary clouds appears to be influenced by these magnetic fields. The relative orientation of magnetic fields, filaments, and dense clumps within them provides information about the relative importance of forces due to magnetic fields and gravity. Using SOFIA’s HAWC+ instrument, it was possible to capture the magnetic field structure of the larger interstellar medium of molecular clouds, ranging from several tens of parsecs to dense star-forming cores of less than 0.1 pc, at high spatial resolution. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of SOFIA’s unique perspective on the role of magnetic fields in the formation of molecular clouds in various environments from the Gould Belt to distant spiral arms, as well as their effect on star formation.