Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Galaxy Zoo: Chiral correlation function of galaxy spins

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


Anze Slosar

Kate Land

Chris Lintott

Dan Andreescu

Phil Murray

Robert Nichol

M. Jordan Raddick

Kevin Schawinski

Alex Szalay

Daniel Thomas

Jan Vandenberg


Galaxy Zoo is the first study of nearby galaxies that contains reliable information about the spiral sense of rotation of galaxy arms for a sizeable number of galaxies. We measure the correlation function of spin chirality (the sense in which galaxies appear to be spinning) of face-on spiral galaxies in angular, real and projected spaces. Our results indicate a hint of positive correlation at separations less than ~0.5 Mpc at a statistical significance of 2-3 sigma. This is the first experimental evidence for chiral correlation of spins. Within tidal torque theory it indicates that the inertia tensors of nearby galaxies are correlated. This is complementary to the studies of nearby spin axis correlations that probe the correlations of the tidal field. Theoretical interpretation is made difficult by the small distances at which the correlations are detected, implying that substructure might play a significant role, and our necessary selection of face-on spiral galaxies, rather than a general volume-limited sample.


Slosar, A., Land, K., Bamford, S., Lintott, C., Andreescu, D., Murray, P., …Vandenberg, J. (2009). Galaxy Zoo: Chiral correlation function of galaxy spins. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 392(3), 1225–1232.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 22, 2008
Online Publication Date Jan 8, 2009
Publication Date 2009-01
Deposit Date Aug 27, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2020
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 392
Issue 3
Pages 1225–1232
Keywords Astrophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: [year] [owner as specified on the article] Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations