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This thesis deals with the analysis of the distribution of galaxies and clusters, describing some observational problems and statistical results. First chapter gives a theoretical introduction, aiming to describe the framework of the formation of structures, tracing the history of the Universe from the Planck time, sec and temperature corresponding to GeV, to the present epoch. The most usual statistical tools and models of the galaxy distribution, with their advantages and limitations, are described in chapter two. A study of the main observed properties of galaxy clustering, together with a detailed statistical analysis of the effects of selecting galaxies according to apparent magnitude or diameter, is reported in chapter three. Chapter four delineates some properties of groups of galaxies, explaining the reasons of discrepant results on group distributions.

Chapter five is a study of the distribution of galaxy clusters, with different statistical tools, like correlations, percolation, void probability function and counts in cells; it is found the same scaling-invariant behaviour of galaxies. Chapter six describes our finding that rich galaxy clusters too belong to the fundamental plane of elliptical galaxies, and gives a discussion of its possible implications. Finally chapter seven reviews the possibilities offered by multi-slit and multi-fibre spectrographs, and I present some observational work on nearby and distant galaxy clusters. In particular, I show the opportunities offered by ongoing surveys of galaxies coupled with multi-objet fibre spectrographs, focusing on the ESO Key Programme A galaxy redshift survey in the south galactic pole region to which I collaborate and on MEFOS, a multifibre instrument with automatic positioning. Published papers related to the work described in this thesis are reported in the last appendix.

alberto cappi
Wed Feb 5 10:43:08 MET 1997