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Volume 601 Issue 7891, 6 January 2022
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Volume 601 Issue 7891, 6 January 2022

Field guide

The cover shows the structure of the interstellar magnetic field overlaid on the Taurus molecular cloud. During star formation, the interstellar magnetic field dissipates and molecular clouds collapse under their own gravity, eventually forming stars. But measuring the strength of the interstellar magnetic field is very difficult. In this week’s issue, Tao-Chung Ching and his colleagues present observations of the magnetic field of the Taurus molecular cloud. The researchers were able to determine that the magnetic field has an ordered structure throughout a region called the cold neutral medium, as well as the molecular envelope and dense core, suggesting that molecular clouds are primed for collapse earlier than was typically assumed.

Cover image: Image produced by Juan D. Soler and Yun Zhao using the publicly available data from ESA’s Planck and Herschel observatories

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