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Removing the "Fingers of God"

Surveys like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey provide positions of thousands of galaxies. As you can see in the picture below (each dot is a galaxy), they form interesting patterns. Cosmologists use these patterns to test out different models of the universe.

The picture above shows a small part of the sky found by the SDSS. You may see numerous little stripes heading towards the center. Those should not be there! These stripes are called "Fingers of God", and result from the way the distances to galaxies are estimated.

We corrected these glitches, so that visitors to an exhibit showing SDSS data (e.g. the galaxies flythrough) will not think that these stripes actually exist.


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©2004