Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Galaxy Zoo: A correlation between coherence of galaxy spin chirality and star formation efficiency

Jimenez, Raul; Slosar, Anze; Verde, Licia; Bamford, Steven; Lintott, Chris; Schawinski, Kevin; Nichol, Robert; Andreescu, Dan; Land, Kate; Murray, Phil; Jordan Raddick, M.; Szalay, Alex; Thomas, Daniel; Vandenberg, Jan


Raul Jimenez

Anze Slosar

Licia Verde

Chris Lintott

Kevin Schawinski

Robert Nichol

Dan Andreescu

Kate Land

Phil Murray

M. Jordan Raddick

Alex Szalay

Daniel Thomas

Jan Vandenberg


We report on the finding of a correlation between galaxies' past star formation activity and the degree to which neighbouring galaxies rotation axes are aligned. This is obtained by cross-correlating star formation histories, derived with MOPED, and spin direction (chirality), as determined by the Galaxy Zoo project, for a sample of SDSS galaxies. Our findings suggest that spiral galaxies which formed the majority of their stars early (z > 2) tend to display coherent rotation over scales of ~10 Mpc/h. The correlation is weaker for galaxies with significant recent star formation. We find evidence for this alignment at more than the 5-sigma level, but no correlation with other galaxy stellar properties. This finding can be explained within the context of hierarchical tidal-torque theory if the SDSS galaxies harboring the majority of the old stellar population where formed in the past, in the same filament and at about the same time. Galaxies with significant recent star formation instead are in the field, thus influenced by the general tidal field that will align them in random directions or had a recent merger which would promote star formation, but deviate the spin direction.


Jimenez, R., Slosar, A., Verde, L., Bamford, S., Lintott, C., Schawinski, K., …Vandenberg, J. (2010). Galaxy Zoo: A correlation between coherence of galaxy spin chirality and star formation efficiency. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 404(2), 975–980.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 11, 2010
Online Publication Date May 4, 2010
Publication Date 2010-05
Deposit Date Jan 16, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 29, 2020
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 404
Issue 2
Pages 975–980
Keywords Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2010 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations