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The alignment of galaxy spin with the shear field in observations

Abstract : Tidal torque theory suggests that galaxies gain angular momentum in the linear stage of structure formation. Such a theory predicts alignments between the spin of haloes and tidal shear field. However, non-linear evolution and angular momentum acquisition may alter this prediction significantly. In this paper, we use a reconstruction of the cosmic shear field from observed peculiar velocities combined with spin axes extracted from galaxies within $115\, \mathrm{Mpc} $ ($\sim8000 \, {\mathrm {km}}{\mathrm s}^{-1}$) from 2MRS catalog, to test whether or not galaxies appear aligned with principal axes of shear field. Although linear reconstructions of the tidal field have looked at similar issues, this is the first such study to examine galaxy alignments with velocity-shear field. Ellipticals in the 2MRS sample, show a statistically significant alignment with two of the principal axes of the shear field. In general, elliptical galaxies have their short axis aligned with the axis of greatest compression and perpendicular to the axis of slowest compression. Spiral galaxies show no signal. Such an alignment is significantly strengthened when considering only those galaxies that are used in velocity field reconstruction. When examining such a subsample, a weak alignment with the axis of greatest compression emerges for spiral galaxies as well. This result indicates that although velocity field reconstructions still rely on fairly noisy and sparse data, the underlying alignment with shear field is strong enough to be visible even when small numbers of galaxies are considered - especially if those galaxies are used as constraints in the reconstruction.
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Contributor : Sylvie Flores <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 8:01:56 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 2:37:56 AM

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Isha Pahwa, Noam I. Libeskind, Elmo Tempel, Yehuda Hoffman, R. Brent Tully, et al.. The alignment of galaxy spin with the shear field in observations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2016, 457 (1), pp.695. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stv2930⟩. ⟨in2p3-01247444⟩



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