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Orientation of galaxies

  1. Jul 2, 2014 #1


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    Most ( or probably all?) galaxies are shaped like flat discs (10/30 times wider than thick).
    Are their planes all aligned on the same angle (from our point of view) or they vary?
    If so, is it just casual orientation or it follows a certain pattern, for example the angle grows proportionally to distance?
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  3. Jul 2, 2014 #2


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    The orientation of galaxies is completely random. There is no known pattern as far as I know.
  4. Jul 2, 2014 #3


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    There is a classification of galaxies by their shapes:


    The orientation of different galaxies appears to be somewhat random, as can be seen by examining
    astronomical photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope:


    Some galaxies appear nearly edge-on from our perspective, some are at an oblique angle, and some appear to be almost perpendicular to our line of sight.
  5. Jul 2, 2014 #4


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    Thanks, so a near galaxy can be perpendicular and one 10Gly away can be horizontal!
    Distance has no influence at all.
  6. Jul 2, 2014 #5


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    none at all
  7. Jul 2, 2014 #6


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    sounds like maybe you haven't seen any images of galaxies
    here's one taken by the Hubble Space Telescope
    This shows just a tiny portion of sky, just about every object in this image is a galaxy
    note all the different orientations
    also note the different types of galaxies ... spiral, elliptical etc

    There's probably 1000's of galaxies in this image :smile:



    Attached Files:

  8. Jul 2, 2014 #7
    There was some really interesting work by the galaxy zoo team on this. They asked people to classify disk galaxies as being rotating counter clockwise (s like) or clockwise (z like). They actually found that there are more s like galaxies. To uncover this, they took the sample and flipped the images ( s -> z like ; z -> s like ) and found that people still classified the s type as being more prominent.

    There could be many factors that contribute to this, from the placement of the websites voting buttons to people finding it easier to pick out certain shapes in images. But the end result was that there is no inherent bias in how galaxy rotate or are oriented.

    More information: http://blog.galaxyzoo.org/2008/01/10/in-the-eye-of-the-beholder/
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