Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Marni D. Sheppeard

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quirky Quasars

The 2009 paper by David Elbaz, Quasar induced galaxy formation: a new paradigm?, discusses the theory that supermassive black holes are responsible for galaxy formation.

The team looked at the quasar HE0450-2958 from Chile and noticed that a jet of matter from the black hole pointed exactly in the direction of a star forming region in a nearby galaxy. As Louise would ask: if galaxies are formed this way, even early in cosmic time, then where did all the black holes come from? New Scientist calls this the 64000 dollar question. Goodbye LCDM.

Note that this is a neat opposite of the Arp theory, where galaxies eject quasars. It would explain why the local galaxy M33 is missing its central black hole: the black hole has not yet arrived in the centre. That is, the black holes can create galaxies from nearby gas clouds and only later migrate into the galactic centres. The quasar jets can contain so much matter that they might create a whole galaxy out of nowhere!


Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Arp's book, "Seeing Red" arrived. It is well worth reading. But I'm not entirely convinced about the Einstein cross evidence.

March 18, 2010 5:15 PM  
Blogger nige said...

Some bad and good points of Arp:

"Arp's theory hasn't changed in decades despite the wealth of new observations in that time. You haven't detailed what you mean by 'discordant redshifts' so I have to assume you mean the fact that there are some Quasars and galaxies near each other in the sky that have different redshifts? This might have been a problem when there were only a handful of known Quasars, which is when Arp came up with this idea, however there are many more known today (thousands? tens of thousands? I'm not sure of the exact number) and there is no longer any hint of the 'discrepancies' you refer to, that is to say the number of galaxy-Quasar nearby pairs seen is consistent with what would be expected from random chance line of site alignment and not the fact that these 'pairs' are actually nearby to each other in space. In addition the expanding universe model has made a number of predictions that have been verified observationally, such as the properties of the CMB, the presence of the baryon acoustic peak in galaxy redshift surveys, the light curve width and redshift relationship seen in Supernovae Type 1A spectra etc etc. Many of these can't be understood in the Arp model, effectively ruling it out."

There is also a general debunking of non-BB redshift explanations here, and a specific rejection of Arp's theory here.

The one thing I do strongly agree with Arp on is that general relativity is has nothing to do with cosmology, it's just a local correction to Newtonian gravitation for field energy conservation and relativity, and you can't assume that it can b applied to the entire universe (G.R. certainly can't be applied to the universe as a whole without massive modifications, if gravity has a physical cause with the attractive gravity being due to a graviton-mediated recoil force resulting from applying Newton's 3rd law to the outward force acceleration of distant matter surrounding us!!).

Arp writes in his paper The observational impetus for Le Sage Gravity:

‘The first insight came when I realized that the Friedmann solution of 1922 was based on the assumption that the masses of elementary particles were always and forever constant, m = const. He had made an approximation in a differential equation and then solved it. This is an error in mathematical procedure. What Narlikar had done was solve the equations for m= f(x,t). This a more general solution [to general relativity], what Tom Phipps calls a covering theory. Then if it is decided from observations that m can be set constant (e.g. locally) the solution can be used for this special case. What the Friedmann, and following Big Bang evangelists did, was succumb to the typical conceit of humans that the whole of the universe was just like themselves.’

March 18, 2010 11:46 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Nigel, nobody here believes in old fashioned steady state cosmologies. But the quasar data ARE interesting.

March 19, 2010 8:29 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Arp's observations have nothing to do with tired light. The comment at physics forums is off track in that Arp does believe in the big bang and an expanding universe; his heresy has to do with the quasar redshifts alone.

Best link was the 0807.2641 paper, but that was based on a 2005 paper by the same authors, which is critically examined at great length in astro-ph/0603169, which see.

Pick up Seeing Red to get a better understanding of what is going on here. Given the strong tendency of physicists to believe the same thing, I think that the fact that quasar redshift periodicity is believed by so many (observing) astrophysicists is significant.

By the way, the SDSS data is available free on the web if you want to make your own search. I've talked with people who did just that, at the FFP10 conference. The problem is that it's fairly complicated stuff and requires a lot of study to avoid making beginner errors.

March 19, 2010 4:09 PM  

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