Intrinsic alignments in redMaPPer clusters - I. Central galaxy alignments and angular segregation of satellites

Hung Jin Huang, Rachel Mandelbaum, Peter E. Freeman, Yen Chi Chen, Eduardo Rozo, Eli Rykoff, Eric J. Baxter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The shapes of cluster central galaxies are not randomly oriented, but rather exhibit coherent alignments with the shapes of their parent clusters as well as with the surrounding large-scale structures. In this work, we aim to identify the galaxy and cluster quantities that most strongly predict the central galaxy alignment phenomenon among a large parameter space with a sample of 8237 clusters and 94 817 members within 0.1 < z < 0.35, based on the red-sequence Matched-filter Probabilistic Percolation cluster catalogue constructed from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We first quantify the alignment between the projected central galaxy shapes and the distribution of member satellites, to understand what central galaxy and cluster properties most strongly correlate with these alignments. Next, we investigate the angular segregation of satellites with respect to their central galaxy major axis directions, to identify the satellite properties that most strongly predict their angular segregation. We find that central galaxies are more aligned with their member galaxy distributions in clusters that are more elongated and have higher richness, and for central galaxies with larger physical size, higher luminosity and centring probability, and redder colour. Satellites with redder colour, higher luminosity, located closer to the central galaxy, and with smaller ellipticity show a stronger angular segregation towards their central galaxy major axes. Finally, we provide physical explanations for some of the identified correlations, and discuss the connection to theories of central galaxy alignments, the impact of primordial alignments with tidal fields, and the importance of anisotropic accretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-244
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • large-scale structure of Universe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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