Maser Polarization and magnetic fields
Conference contribution, 2012
Maser polarization observations can reveal unique information on the magnetic field strength and structure for a large number of very different astronomical objects. As the different masers for which polarization is measured, such as silicon-monoxide, water, hydroxil and methanol, probe different physical conditions, the masers can even be used to determine for example the relation between magnetic field and density. In particular, maser polarization observations have improved our understanding of the magnetic field strength in, among others, the envelopes around evolved stars, Planetary Nebulae (PNe), massive star forming regions, supernova remnants and megamaser galaxies. This review presents an overview of maser polarization observations and magnetic field determinations of the last several years and discusses some of the theoretical considerations needed for a proper maser polarization analysis.