This Joint Legacy Program aims to construct a comprehensive empirical picture of the magnetic field strength and structure in the multiphase ISM of galaxies. For the first time, we will construst the first FIR polarimetric survey of nearby galaxies. We will combine these results with our radio polarimetric and optical spectroscopic observations to obtain magnetic field strength/structure and gas dynamics as a function of host galaxy properties and kpc-scale galactic environment. The wide-field, multi-wavelength polarimetric observations from this Legacy Program will be a transformative leap that will establish the foundational framework of the kpc-scale magnetic field structure in the molecular gas disks of nearby galaxies.


Our team is comprised of an international group of recognized experts in the field of magnetic fields of galaxies, IR and radio polarimetric observations, and Herschel and HAWC+ instrumentation. The primary aim of this team is to maximize the science output, and extract maximum science return from the data. Secondary to the science is a strong commitment to ensuring as appropriate the best possible balance in demographics, including gender, career position, and nationality.

The overall responsibility of this program resides with the two co-PIs, Dr. Sui Ann Mao in Germany and Dr. Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez in the USA, and their Science Working Group.

Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez (co-PI) Sui Ann Mao (co-PI)
SOFIA Science Center Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Dr. Lopez-Rodriguez is leading the efforts on the FIR/optical observations, data analysis and interpretation. Dr. Mao is leading the efforts on the radio polarimetric observations, data analysis and interpretation.

The project’s work is structured into several teams, and each team lead reports to the co-PIs. The Science Working Group oversees the efforts to achieve the science goals of this project, and their members inspire and motivate the rest of the team to build linkages between the SOFIA Legacy project and other aspects of the astronomical community. In particular, this includes linkages to teams from large projects on other observatories (like the nearby galaxy surveys on Spitzer and Herschel) and ongoing closely related work (like ground-based and balloon observations of sub-mm polarization).

Science Working Group

Member Institution
Rainer Beck Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Germany
Jean-Philippe Bernard Centre d’Etudes Spatiales du Rayonnement
François Boulanger Universite Paris Sud Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale
Daniel Dale University of Wyoming
Tanio Diaz-Santos Diego Portales University
Darren C. Dowell JPL
Karl Gordon Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
Lucas Grosset SOFIA Science Center
Doyal A. Harper University of Chicago
Annie Hughes IRAP, Toulouse
Evangelia Ntormousi Universuty of Crete
William T. Reach SOFIA Science Center
Julia Roman-Duval Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
Kandaswamy Subramanian Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Konstantinos Tassis University of Crete
Ngoc Tram Le SOFIA Science Center
Ellen Zweibel University of Wisconsin


Galaxy Sample
Antennae Centaurus A Circinus M51 M82
M83 NGC 253 NGC 1068 NGC 1097 NGC 2146
NGC 3627 NGC 3628 NGC 4631 NGC 4736 NGC 4826
NGC 6946 NGC 7331


Centaurus A

Lopez-Rodriguez et al. (submitted)
Data Release on July 2020


Python scripts will be available soon.

Description File
Python script to generate polarization maps using HAWC+ observations polmap.py
White paper describing the data format of HAWC+ Gordon et al. (2018)