Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 484, 4325-4336 (2019/April-2)
The shape alignment of satellite galaxies in Local Group-like pairs from the SDSS.
WANG P., GUO Q., LIBESKIND N.I., TEMPEL E., WEI C. and KANG X.
Abstract (from CDS):
It has been shown, both in simulations and observationally, that the tidal field of a large galaxy can torque its satellites such that the major axis of satellite galaxies points towards their hosts. This so-called 'shape alignment' has been observed in isolated Milky Way-like galaxies but not in 'Local Group'-like pairs. In this study, we investigate the shape alignment of satellite galaxies in galaxy pairs similar to the Local Group identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 13 (SDSS DR13). By stacking tens of thousands of satellite galaxies around primary galaxy pairs, we find two statistically strong alignment signals. (1) The major axes of satellite galaxies located in the (projected) area between two primaries (the facing region) tend to be perpendicular to the line connecting the satellite to its host (tangential alignment), while (2) the major axes of satellite galaxies located in regions away from the other host (the away region) tend to be aligned with the line connecting the satellite to its host (radial alignment). These alignments are confirmed at ∼5σ levels. The alignment signal increases with increasing primary brightness, decreasing pair separation, and decreasing satellite distance. The alignment signal is also found to be stronger in filamentary environments. These findings will shed light on understanding the mechanisms of how satellite galaxies are affected by the tidal field in galaxy pairs and will be useful for investigating galaxy intrinsic alignment in the analyses of weak gravitational lensing.