Infoscience

Review

Galaxy Alignments: Theory, Modelling & Simulations

The shapes of galaxies are not randomly oriented on the sky. During the galaxy formation and evolution process, environment has a strong influence, as tidal gravitational fields in the large-scale structure tend to align nearby galaxies. Additionally, events such as galaxy mergers affect the relative alignments of both the shapes and angular momenta of galaxies throughout their history. These "intrinsic galaxy alignments" are known to exist, but are still poorly understood. This review will offer a pedagogical introduction to the current theories that describe intrinsic galaxy alignments, including the apparent difference in intrinsic alignment between early- and late-type galaxies and the latest efforts to model them analytically. It will then describe the ongoing efforts to simulate intrinsic alignments using both -body and hydrodynamic simulations. Due to the relative youth of this field, there is still much to be done to understand intrinsic galaxy alignments and this review summarises the current state of the field, providing a solid basis for future work.

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