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Title: Using 3D and 2D analysis for analyzing large-scale asymmetry in galaxy spin directions

The nature of galaxy spin is still not fully known. Iye, Yagi, and Fukumoto (2021, AJ, 907, 123) applied a 3D analysis to a dataset of bright SDSS galaxies that was used in the past for photometric analysis. They showed that the distribution of spin directions of spiral galaxies is random, providing a dipole axis with low statistical significance of 0.29σ. However, to show random distribution, two decisions were made, each of which can lead to random distribution regardless of the real distribution of the spin direction of galaxies. The first decision was to limit the dataset arbitrarily to z < 0.1, which is a redshift range in which previous literature already showed that random distribution is expected. More importantly, while the 3D analysis requires the redshift of each galaxy, the analysis was done with the photometric redshift. If the asymmetry existed, its signal is expected to be an order of magnitude weaker than the error of the photometric redshift, and therefore a low statistical signal under these conditions is expected. When using the exact same data without limiting to zphot < 0.1 and without using the photometric redshift, the distribution of the spin directions in that dataset shows more » a statistical signal of >2σ. Code and data for reproducing the analysis are publicly available. These results are in agreement with other experiments with SDSS, Pan-STARRS, HST, and the DESI Legacy Survey. The paper also examines other previous studies that showed random distribution in galaxy spin directions. While further research will be required, the current evidence suggests that large-scale asymmetry between the number of clockwise and counterclockwise galaxies cannot be ruled out.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1114-1130
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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