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Keywords:

  • cosmology: observations;
  • large-scale structure of Universe

ABSTRACT

Alignments of galaxy clusters (the Binggeli effect), as well as of galaxies themselves have long been studied both observationally and theoretically. Here, we test the influence of large-scale structures and tidal fields on the shapes and alignments of cluster-size and galaxy-size dark matter haloes. We use a high-resolution N-body simulation of a Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) universe, together with the results of Colberg, Krughoff & Connolly, who identified filaments connecting pairs of clusters. We find that cluster pairs connected by a filament are strongly aligned with the cluster–cluster axis, whereas unconnected ones are not. For smaller, galaxy-size haloes, there also is an alignment signal, but its strength is independent of whether the halo is part of an obvious large-scale structure. Additionally, we find no measurable dependence of galaxy halo shape on membership of a filament. We also quantify the influence of tidal fields and find that these do correlate strongly with alignments of haloes. The alignments of most haloes are thus caused by tidal fields, with cluster-size haloes being strongly aligned through the added mechanism of infall of matter from filaments.