Journal Article

Angular momentum-large-scale structure alignments in ΛCDM models and the SDSS

Dante J. Paz, Federico Stasyszyn and Nelson D. Padilla

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 389, issue 3, pages 1127-1136
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:

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We study the alignments between the angular momentum of individual objects and the large-scale structure in cosmological numerical simulations and real data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Data Release 6 (SDSS-DR6). To this end, we measure anisotropies in the two point cross-correlation function around simulated haloes and observed galaxies, studying separately the one- and two-halo regimes. The alignment of the angular momentum of dark-matter haloes in Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) simulations is found to be dependent on scale and halo mass. At large distances (two-halo regime), the spins of high-mass haloes are preferentially oriented in the direction perpendicular to the distribution of matter; lower mass systems show a weaker trend that may even reverse to show an angular momentum in the plane of the matter distribution. In the one-halo term regime, the angular momentum is aligned in the direction perpendicular to the matter distribution; the effect is stronger than for the one-halo term and increases for higher mass systems.

On the observational side, we focus our study on galaxies in the SDSS-DR6 with elongated apparent shapes, and study alignments with respect to the major semi-axis. We study five samples of edge-on galaxies; the full SDSS-DR6 edge-on sample, bright galaxies, faint galaxies, red galaxies and blue galaxies (the latter two consisting mainly of ellipticals and spirals, respectively). Using the two-halo term of the projected correlation function, we find an excess of structure in the direction of the major semi-axis for all samples; the red sample shows the highest alignment (2.7 ± 0.8 per cent) and indicates that the angular momentum of flattened spheroidals tends to be perpendicular to the large-scale structure. These results are in qualitative agreement with the numerical simulation results indicating that the angular momentum of galaxies could be built up as in the Tidal Torque scenario. The one-halo term only shows a significant alignment for blue spirals (1.0 ± 0.4 per cent), consistent with the one-halo results from the simulation but with a lower amplitude. This could indicate that even though the structure traced by galaxies is adequate to study large-scale structure alignments, this would not be the case for the inner structure of low-mass haloes, M≤ 1013h−1M, an effect apparently more important around red gr > 0.7 galaxies.

Keywords: methods: numerical; methods: statistical; galaxies: formation; large-scale structure of Universe

Journal Article.  7608 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics