Exploring the making of a galactic wind in the star-bursting dwarf irregular galaxy IC 10 with LOFAR

V. Heesen, D. A. Rafferty, A. Horneffer, R. Beck, A. Basu, J. Westcott, L. Hindson, E. Brinks, K. T. Chyży, A. M. M. Scaife, M. Brüggen, George Heald, A. Fletcher, C. Horellou, F. S. Tabatabaei, R. Paladino, B. Nikiel-Wroczyński, M. Hoeft, R. -J. Dettmar

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Low-mass galaxies are subject to strong galactic outflows, in which cosmic rays may play an important role; they can be best traced with low-frequency radio continuum observations, which are less affected by spectral ageing. We present a study of the nearby starburst dwarf irregular galaxy IC 10 using observations at 140MHz with the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), at 1580MHz with the Very Large Array (VLA), and at 6200MHz with the VLA and the 100-m Effelsberg telescope.We find that IC 10 has a low-frequency radio halo, which manifests itself as a second component (thick disc) in the minor axis profiles of the non-thermal radio continuum emission at 140 and 1580 MHz. These profiles are then fitted with 1D cosmic ray transport models for pure diffusion and advection.We find that a diffusion model fits best, with a diffusion coefficient of D = (0.4-0.8) × 10 26(E/GeV) 0.5 cm 2s -1, which is at least an order of magnitude smaller than estimates both from anisotropic diffusion and the diffusion length. In contrast, advection models, which cannot be ruled out due to the mild inclination, while providing poorer fits, result in advection speeds close to the escape velocity of ≈50 km s -1, as expected for a cosmic ray-driven wind. Our favoured model with an accelerating wind provides a self-consistent solution, where the magnetic field is in energy equipartition with both the warm neutral and warm ionized medium with an important contribution from cosmic rays. Consequently, cosmic rays can play a vital role for the launching of galactic winds in the disc-halo interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1756-1764
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date9 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2018


  • Cosmic rays
  • Galaxies: magnetic fields
  • Radio continuum: galaxies


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