Orientations of very faint galaxies in the Coma cluster

C. Adami*, R. Gavazzi, J. C. Cuillandre, F. Durret, O. Ilbert, A. Mazure, R. Pelló, M. P. Ulmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Context. Models of large scale structure formation predict the existence of preferential orientations for galaxies in clusters. Alms. We have searched for preferential orientations of very faint galaxies in the Coma cluster (down IVega∼-11.5). Methods. By applying a deconvolution method to deep u* and I band images of the Coma cluster, we were able to recover orientations down to very faint magnitudes, close to the faintest dwarf galaxies in the Coma cluster. Results. No preferential orientations are found in more than 95% of the cluster area, and the brighter the galaxies, the fewer preferential orientations we detect. The minor axes of late type galaxies are radially oriented along a northeast-southwest direction and are oriented in a north-south direction in the western X-ray substructures. For early type galaxies in the western regions showing significant preferential orientations, galaxy major axes tend to be oriented perpendicularly to the north-south direction. In the eastern significant region and close to NGC 4889, galaxy major axes also tend to point toward the two cluster dominant galaxies. In the southern significant regions, galaxy planes tend to be tangential with respect to the clustercentric direction, except close to (α = 194.8, δ = 27.65) where the orientation is close to -15 deg. Early and late type galaxies do not have the same behaviour regarding orientation. Conclusions. Considering various models, we give an interpretation which can account for the existence of preferential orientations for galaxies (e.g. the tidal torque model or interactions with the intra cluster medium). Part of the orientations of the minor axes of late type galaxies and of the major axes of early type galaxies can be explained by the tidal torque model applied both to cosmological filaments and local merging directions. Another part (close to NGC 4889) can be accounted for by collimated infalls. For early type galaxies, an additional region (α = .1.94.8, δ= 27.65) shows orientations that probably result from local processes involving induced star formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Galaxies: clusters: individual: Coma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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