Volume 575, March 2015
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||06 March 2015|
On the origin of intrinsic alignment in cosmic shear measurements: an analytic argument⋆
1 University of Milan, Department of Physics, via Celoria 16, 20133 Milan, Italy
2 University of Rome “Sapienza”, Department of Physics, p.le Aldo Moro 2, 00185 Rome, Italy
3 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Received: 17 September 2014
Accepted: 31 December 2014
Galaxy intrinsic alignment can be a severe source of error in weak-lensing studies. The problem has been widely studied by numerical simulations and with heuristic models, but without a clear theoretical justification of its origin and amplitude. In particular, it is still unclear whether intrinsic alignment of galaxies is dominated by formation and accretion processes or by the effects of the instantaneous tidal field acting upon them. We investigate this question by developing a simple model of intrinsic alignment for elliptical galaxies, based on the instantaneous tidal field. Making use of the galaxy stellar distribution function, we estimate the intrinsic alignment signal and find that although it has the expected dependence on the tidal field, it is too weak to account for the observed signal. This is an indirect validation of the standard view that intrinsic alignment is caused by formation and/or accretion processes.
Key words: gravitational lensing: weak / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / galaxies: halos
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2015
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