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Astron. Astrophys. 336, 35-43 (1998)

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The supercluster-void network

IV. The shape and orientation of superclusters

Jaak Jaaniste 1, Erik Tago 1, Maret Einasto 1, Jaan Einasto 1, Heinz Andernach 2 and Volker Müller 3

1 Tartu Observatory, EE-2444 Tõravere, Estonia
2 Departamento de Astronomía, IFUG, Apdo. Postal 144, 36000 Guanajuato, Mexico
3 Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, D-14482 Potsdam, Germany

Received 23 January 1998 / Accepted 21 April 1998


We present a study of the shape, size, and spatial orientation of superclusters of galaxies. Approximating superclusters by triaxial ellipsoids we show that superclusters are flattened, triaxial objects. We find that there are no spherical superclusters. The sizes of superclusters grow with their richness: the median semi-major axis of rich and poor superclusters (having [FORMULA]8 and [FORMULA] member clusters) is 42 and 31 [FORMULA] Mpc, respectively. Similarly, the median semi-minor axis is 12 and 5 [FORMULA] Mpc for rich and poor superclusters. The spatial orientation of superclusters, as determined from the axes of ellipsoids, is nearly random. We do not detect any preferable orientation of superclusters, neither with respect to the line of sight, nor relative to some other outstanding feature in the large scale structure, nor with respect to the directions of principal axes of adjacent superclusters.

Key words: galaxies: clusters: general – cosmology: observations – cosmology: large-scale structure of the Universe

Send offprint requests to: J. Jaaniste

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: July 7, 1998