Lauri Juhan Liivamägi defended his doctoral thesis titled “Properties and spatial distribution of galaxy superclusters”

Tiia Lillemaa | 22.02.2017

On 21 February 2017 Lauri Juhan Liivamägi defended at University of Tartu his doctoral thesis titled “Properties and spatial distribution of galaxy superclusters”.

2017-02-22 Juhan Liivamägi kaitsmine1.jpg

dr Enn Saar, Tartu Observatory

dr Andi Hektor, NIBF
dr Maciei Bilicki, Leiden University, Holland

Astronomy is a science that can offer plenty of unforgettable imagery, and the large-scale distribution of galaxies is no exception. Among the first features the viewer's eye is likely to be drawn to, are large concentrations of galaxies – galaxy superclusters, contrasting to the seemingly empty regions beside them. Superclusters can extend from tens to over hundred megaparsecs, they contain from hundreds to thousands of galaxies, and many galaxy groups and clusters. Unlike galaxy clusters, superclusters are clearly unrelaxed systems, not gravitationally bound as crossing times exceed the age of the universe, and show little to no radial symmetry. Superclusters, as part of the large-scale structure, are sensitive to the initial power spectrum and the following evolution. They are massive enough to leave an imprint on the cosmic microwave background radiation. Superclusters can also provide an unique environment for their constituent galaxies and galaxy clusters. Large-scale galaxy structures have been studied at the Tartu Observatory already for several decades. In this study we used two different observational and one simulated galaxy samples to create several catalogues of structures that, we think, correspond to what are generally considered galaxy superclusters. Superclusters were delineated as continuous over-dense regions in galaxy luminosity density fields. When calculating density fields several corrections were applied to remove small-scale redshift distortions and distance-dependent selection effects. Resulting catalogues of objects display robust statistical properties, showing that flux-limited galaxy samples can be used to create nearly volume-limited catalogues of superstructures. Generally, large superclusters can be regarded as massive, often branching filamentary structures, that are mainly characterised by their length. Smaller superclusters, on the other hand, can display a variety of shapes. Spatial distribution of superclusters shows large-scale variations, with high-density concentrations often found in semi-regularly spaced groups. Future studies are needed to quantify the relations between superclusters and finer details of the galaxy distribution. Supercluster catalogues from this thesis have already been used in numerous other studies.