The density and peculiar velocity fields of nearby galaxies

Michael A. Strauss, Jeffrey A. Willick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

470 Scopus citations


We review the quantitative science that can be and has been done with redshift and peculiar velocity surveys of galaxies in the nearby universe. After a brief background setting the cosmological context for this work, the first part of this review focuses on redshift surveys. The practical issues of how redshift surveys are carried out, and how one turns a distribution of galaxies into a smoothed density field, are discussed. Then follows a description of major redshift surveys that have been done, and the local cosmography out to 8,000 km s-1 that they have mapped. We then discuss in some detail the various quantitative cosmological tests that can be carried out with redshift data. The second half of this review concentrates on peculiar velocity studies, beginning with a thorough review of existing techniques. After discussing the various biases which plague peculiar velocity work, we survey quantitative analyses done with peculiar velocity surveys alone, and finally with the combination of data from both redshift and peculiar velocity surveys. The data presented rule out the standard Cold Dark Matter model, although several variants of Cold Dark Matter with more power on large scales fare better. All the data are consistent with the hypothesis that the initial density field had a Gaussian distribution, although one cannot rule out broad classes of non-Gaussian models. Comparison of the peculiar velocity and density fields constrains the Cosmological Density Parameter. The results here are consistent with a flat universe with mild biasing of the galaxies relative to dark matter, although open universe models are by no means ruled out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-431
Number of pages161
JournalPhysics Reports
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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