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Quasar with enormous redshift found embedded in nearby spiral galaxy with far lower redshift: unsolvable riddle for big bang astronomy

This changes the whole view of the universe—big bang astronomy will never be the same.

Idealized galaxy spectra

Idealized galaxy spectra showing typical “absorption” lines (black against a rainbow-coloured background) produced by hydrogen atoms absorbing light. The more distant the galaxy, the more the lines are shifted to the red side of the spectrum (log scale).

By Dr John G. Hartnett, Australia

Published: 12 January 2005(GMT+10)

According to the standard big bang view of the universe, the objects we call “quasars” are generally supposed to be at the very edge of the visible universe. They are supposed to be super-luminous black holes with a million or a hundred million times more mass than our sun, surrounded by a disk of material. Some of the material falls into the black hole, causing the emission of huge amounts of energy.

The distance to these objects is determined by the Hubble Law—the greater the distance the greater the redshift—and written z = H0 r/c (z is the redshift [expressed as the ratio of change of wavelength to wavelength Δλ/λ], r the distance to the source, c the speed of light and H0 is the constant relating the redshift to the distance.) This is a law that Edwin Hubble discovered in the 1920s and 30s. It was found that the redshifts observed in the light coming from extra-galactic sources could be used to determine their distances. Because he determined their distance by an independent means, he was able to confirm that the law worked for the bright spiral galaxies. The idea has now been extrapolated to all objects in the universe.  And because the class of objects called “quasars” have very large redshifts in general they are expected to be very distant.

The problem is that a quasar has been found embedded in the galaxy NGC 7319 only 8″ from its centre. See figure 1. The arrow indicates the quasar.  It was recently reported on the University of California, San Diego webpage (10 January 2005).1 The subtitle was “Can A ‘Distant’ Quasar Lie Within A Nearby Galaxy?”, extolling the riddle. The work was done by a team of astronomers/astrophysicists including Geoffrey Burbidge and Halton Arp, and will be reported in the 10 February issue of the Astrophysical Journal.2

Figure 1

Figure 1: Photo of nearby spiral galaxy NCG 7319 with high red-shift quasar at arrow (below).

Credit: NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

In the paper2 it is reported that the object is from a class called ultra-luminous X-ray object (ULX) because of the very high emission of X-rays from the source. The quasar in this case was found from its X-ray emission and optically identified with the Hubble Space Telescope. ULXs have been found in and near galaxies and recently the Burbidges and Arp suggested they were quasars.

Based on the Hubble law, which may be written as z = 2×10-4 r with r expressed in Mpc (= 3.26 million light-years) and where z < 0.2, we can determine the distance to the source.

In this case we have a galaxy (NGC 7319 with z = 0.022) at a distance of 360 million light-years and, assuming the above equation holds approximately for larger redshifts z > 0.2, the quasar (with z = 2.114) is 100 times farther or 35 billion light-years. So according to the dominant prevailing belief, these objects cannot be physically connected to each other.

However, Arp has shown3 that there is a very strong case that quasars that lie close to active galaxies, on the sky, are, in fact, physically associated with those galaxies. That is, the closeness is not just a trick of the line of sight, where the quasars are millions of billions of light-years behind the galaxy and merely happen to be almost directly behind it from our point of view. Arp (and others) have gone on to contend that the quasars have been ejected from the hearts of their parent galaxies.4 Creation of new galaxies via this mechanism has been suggested.

The case has been made that the ULX quasar or QSO5 is not accidentally aligned due to a projection effect because it is seen interacting with gaseous material in the host galaxy. The abstract of the paper2 states in part: 

From the optical spectra of the QSO and interstellar gas of NGC 7319 at z = .022 we show that it is very likely that the QSO is interacting with the interstellar gas.

This is evidenced from the very strong oxygen emission lines in the spectra of the gases of the galaxy in the position of the quasar. Also a very strong outflow of gas is detected consistent with the ejection of the QSO entraining material with it. See figure 2. The paper states,

Figure 1

Figure 2: V-shaped jet clearly seen entrained behind the ejected quasar.

… the QSO has been ejected from the nucleus of the Seyfert NGC 7319. It is seen that there is a luminous connection reaching from the nucleus (just at the top of the picture frame) down in the direction of the ULX/quasar, stopping about 3” from it. It is also apparent that this connection or wake is bluer than the body of the galaxy. [“Bluer” means that it is projected out towards the observer.]

So what is the big deal? This is the big deal.

The ejection-of-quasars-from-galaxies interpretation is vigorously rejected by the big bang community.  Obviously this is because it utterly demolishes their key assumption of the genesis of all matter at the big bang.  Also it calls into question many redshift-distances determined by quasar redshifts.  In the section “Alternatives to the big bang” on page 393 of his book,6 Joseph Silk … admits, “Only by disputing the interpretation of quasar redshifts as a cosmological distance indicator can this conclusion be avoided” [my emphasis added]. This is, in fact, the main thrust of Arp’s observations!  They cast enormous doubt on the distribution of galaxies in the universe and the interpretation of big bang expansion models.7

However the observations do fit with a recent creationist model of creation of the heavenly bodies. See The heavens declare a different story! The model suggests that the quasars are ejected from active galaxies in a grand creation process and that we are now seeing the creation process of Day 4 of Creation Week.

So the lesson is this. If you hang your hat on the big bang because the majority believes it, you will be embarrassed when it falls. This quasar comes as thorn in the sides of those who believe in the ruling paradigm—but many don’t and expect the weight of the anomalies to eventually sink it.

The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed—inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.8

See also Secular scientists blast the big bang: What now for naïve apologetics?

Instead trust in the One Who made it all and you’ll never be dismayed.

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References and notes

  1. http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/mcquasar.asp. Return to text.
  2. Pasquale Galianni, E. M. Burbidge, H. Arp, V. Junkkarinen, G. Burbidge, Stefano Zibetti, The discovery of a high redshift X-ray emitting QSO very close to the nucleus of NGC 7319, http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0409215, v1, 9 Sep 2004.  Return to text.
  3. Arp, H. Seeing red, redshifts, cosmology and academic science, Apeiron, Montreal, 1998; Arp, H. Quasars, redshifts and controversies, Interstellar Media, Cambridge University Press, Berkeley, California, 1987; Arp, H. Companion galaxies: a test of the assumption that velocities can be inferred from redshift, Ap J 430:74–82, 1994; Arp, H. The distribution of high-redshift (z>2) quasars near active galaxies, Ap J 525:594–602, 1999; Arp, H. Catalogue of discordant Redshift Associations, Aperion, Montreal, 2003. Return to text.
  4. Hartnett, J.G. Quantized quasar redshifts in a creationist cosmology, Journal of Creation 18(2):105–113, 2004. Return to text..
  5. QSO = Quasi-Stellar Object. Return to text.
  6. Silk, J., The Big Bang, W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, 2000. Return to text.
  7. Hartnett, J.G. The heavens declare a different story! Journal of Creation 17(2):94–97, 2003. Return to text.
  8. http://www.cosmologystatement.org. Return to text.

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