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 Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/SAO/P. Green et al.), Optical (Carnegie Obs./Magellan/W.Baade
Telescope/J.S.Mulchaey et al.) 


Quasars: Massive or Charged?
Aug 19, 2010

Consensus theories of the cosmos presume that mass is the fundamental quality with which to explain phenomena. For example, quasars are considered to be massive accretions of matter into supermassive black holes at a galaxy’s nucleus.

Because mass attracts mass, astronomers easily imagine that galaxies attract galaxies and that collisions, mergers, and tidal disruptions are common. Merging galaxies should massively increase the matter accreting into their nuclear black holes, and so astronomers expected to see many binary quasars among the collisions. Until recently, they have been disappointed.

However, a new series of images has found two close quasars in the midst of two close galaxies with distorted tails (image above). The tails could be nothing other than tidal disruptions from the merging of the galaxies, and the quasars are therefore indisputable confirmation of consensus theory. Should anyone have any doubts, a computer simulation of merging galaxies has “corroborated this conclusion.” “The model verifies the merger origin for this binary quasar system,” averred the model-maker.

Consensus, of course, being a massive merger of opinion, seldom takes notice of wisps of dissent. But those who read marginalia will spot a few disagreements. ‘To corroborate’ appears to mean ‘to program a computer with the same assumptions used to interpret observations and to generate features similar to the observations.’ (But what else can you do with an object that’s so far away you can’t stick your thumb in the pie to test it as Jack Horner did?) “The model verifies the merger” is one of those wheels of logic that provides exercise for astrophysical gerbils.

Another comment questions the certainty that “tails…are a sure sign…of an ongoing galaxy merger.” One can be sure of any belief merely by pumping up one’s fervency. But a scientific theory should be instead reliable, which requires alternative theories to be sought out and tested as well: What else could the phenomenon be under other assumptions? The consensus theories appear to produce excuses instead of tests. Readers of this site will likely think of several alternatives that could provide tests for reliability of the “sure signs.”

The Electric Universe is one of several alternative plasma theories that presume charge is the fundamental quality with which to explain phenomena. It takes a hint provided at the end of the press release (first link above) that “the galaxy disks both appear to be nearly face-on to Earth” and “the X-rays from Chandra show no signs of absorption by intervening gas or dust.”

In the Electric Universe, quasars are plasmoids ejected, usually along the spin axis, from a plasma focus mechanism in a galaxy’s nucleus. A face-on disk means that we are looking ‘down the barrel.’ An ejected quasar would appear projected against the galaxy’s core. It would be interesting to obtain a spectrum of the tails apart from the central quasars to see if they have a lower redshift. If they do, this would be another instance of a higher-redshift quasar in front of a lower-redshift galaxy. 

Of course, the two quasars may instead be part of a fragmented ejection (from an active galaxy outside the field of view) and are starting to evolve into companion galaxies. After all, they lie on the eastern edge of the Virgo Cluster, where much ejection activity is occurring.



"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.


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