, Volume 302, Issue 1-4, pp 43-59
Date: 29 Apr 2006

Orientation of Galaxies in the Local Supercluster: A Review

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The progress of the studies on the orientation of galaxies in the Local Supercluster (LSC) is reviewed and a summary of recent results is given. Following a brief introduction of the LSC, we describe the results of early studies based on two-dimensional analysis, which were mostly not conclusive. We describe next the three-dimensional analysis, which is used widely today. Difficulties and systematic effects are explained and the importance of selection effects is described. Then, results based on the new method and modern databases are given, which are summarized as follows. When the LSC is seen as a whole, galaxy planes tend to align perpendicular to the LSC plane with lenticulars showing the most pronounced tendency. Projections onto the LSC plane of the spin vectors of Virgo cluster member galaxies, and to some extent, those of the total LSC galaxies, tend to point to the Virgo cluster center. This tendency is more pronounced for lenticulars than for spirals. It is suggested that ‘field’ galaxies, i.e., those which do not belong to groups with more than three members, may be better objects than other galaxies to probe the information at the early epoch of the LSC formation through the analysis of galaxy orientations. Field lenticulars show a pronounced anisotropic distribution of spin vectors in the sense that they lay their spin vectors parallel to the LSC plane while field spirals show an isotropic spin-vector distribution.