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A new method for analyzing point patterns produced by the evolution of gravitational clustering is presented. The method is taken from the study of molecular liquids, where it has been introduced for making a statistical description of anisotropic distributions. The statistical approach is based on the spherical harmonic expansion of angular correlations. A general introduction to the method is given; a theoretical analysis shows that it is partially connected with previous harmonic analysesdoi:10.1051/0004-6361:20010010 fatcat:byhcat3ofrb3xiljvwruss3xiu