fingers of God
Fr.: doigts de Dieu
A → redshift space distortion which causes the dense central regions of → galaxy clusters to appear elongated along the → line of sight. This effect is attributed to random velocities in clusters of galaxies deviating from pure → Hubble flow. For an observer galaxies with peculiar velocity perpendicular to the line of sight do not change the redshift, which is given just by the normal Hubble expansion. On the contrary, galaxies with peculiar velocity along the line of sight appear with a different redshift, resulting from the Hubble expansion velocity plus the peculiar velocity. Since this affects only redshift and not position on the sky, the stretching occurs only radially, toward the observer. See also → Kaiser effect, → peculiar velocity.