Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Large-scale distribution of galaxies at the Galactic poles


GALAXIES, mapped in two or three dimensions, are not distributed randomly but are clustered on small scales (<5 h−1 Mpc, where h ≈ 0.5–1 is Hubble's constant in units of 100 km s−1Mpc−1), for reasons conventionally ascribed to the effects of gravity. Whether galaxies remain correlated on very large scales ( 50–100 h−1 Mpc) is of particular interest, because such structures are unexpected in most cosmological theories. We have combined data from four distinct surveys at the north and south Galactic poles to produce a well sampled distribution of galaxies by redshift on a linear scale extending to 2,000h−1 Mpc. Here we report our finding of an excess correlation and an apparent regularity in the galaxy distribution with a characteristic scale of 128 h−1 Mpc. This structure is revealed only after the completion of recent surveys extending to redshift z > 0.2. Similarly deep surveys with greater angular spread are needed to verify our results and to determine the implications for cosmology.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Huchra, J., Davis, M., Latham, D. & Tonry, J. Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 52, 39–55 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Peterson, B. A. et al. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 221, 233–255 (1985).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Kirschner, R. P., Oemler, A. & Schechter, P. L. Astr. J. 83, 1549–1563 (1978).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kirschner, R. P., Oemler, A., Schechter, P. L. & Shectman, S. Astr. J. 88, 1285–1300 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Broadhurst, T. J., Ellis, R. S. & Shanks, T. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 235, 827–856 (1988).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Koo, D. C. & Kron, R. in Observational Cosmology (eds Hewitt, A., Burbidge, G. R. & Fang, L. Z.) 383–388 (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1987).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  7. Kirschner, R. P., Oemler, A., Schechter, P. L. & Schectman, S. Astrophys. J. 248, L57–L60 (1981).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. de Lapparent, V., Geller, M. & Huchra, J. Astrophys. J. 302, L1–L6 (1986).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Shanks, T. et al. Astrophys. J. 274, 529–533 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. White, S. D. M., Frenk, C. S., Davis, M. & Efstathiou, G. Astrophys. J. 313, 505–516 (1987).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Broadhurst, T., Ellis, R., Koo, D. et al. Large-scale distribution of galaxies at the Galactic poles. Nature 343, 726–728 (1990).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing