Detecting galaxy-filament alignments in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III

Yen Chi Chen, Shirley Ho, Jonathan Blazek, Siyu He, Rachel Mandelbaum, Peter Melchior, Sukhdeep Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown the filamentary structures in the cosmic web influence the alignments of nearby galaxies. We study this effect in the LOWZ sample of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey using the 'Cosmic Web Reconstruction' filament catalogue. We find that LOWZ galaxies exhibit a small but statistically significant alignment in the direction parallel to the orientation of nearby filaments. This effect is detectable even in the absence of nearby galaxy clusters, which suggests it is an effect from the matter distribution in the filament. A non-parametric regression model suggests that the alignment effect with filaments extends over separations of 30-40 Mpc. We find that galaxies that are bright and early-forming align more strongly with the directions of nearby filaments than those that are faint and late-forming; however, trends with stellar mass are less statistically significant, within the narrow range of stellar mass of this sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2492-2504
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • large-scale structure of Universe


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