Testing gravity theories via transverse doppler and gravitational redshifts in galaxy clusters

Hongsheng Zhao, John Peacock, Baojiu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing interest in testing alternative gravity theories using the subtle gravitational redshifts in clusters of galaxies. However, current models all neglect a transverse Doppler redshift of similar magnitude, and some models are not self-consistent. An equilibrium model would fix the gravitational and transverse Doppler velocity shifts to be about 6σ2/c and 3σ2/2c in order to fit the observed velocity dispersion σ self-consistently. This result comes from the Virial Theorem for a spherical isotropic cluster, and is insensitive to the theory of gravity. A gravitational redshift signal also does not directly distinguish between the Einsteinian and ƒ(R) gravity theories, because each theory requires different dark halo mass function to keep the clusters in equilibrium. When this constraint is imposed, the gravitational redshift has no sensitivity to theory. Indeed our N-body simulations show that the halo mass function differs in ƒ(R), and that the transverse Doppler effect is stronger than analytically predicted due to non-equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043013
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review. D, Particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2013


  • astro-ph.CO
  • astro-ph.GA
  • gr-qc


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