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No. 1: September 1977

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Four Extragalactic Sources Expand Faster Than Light

Three quasars and one galaxy possess structures that apparently expand faster than light. The sizes of the three qua sars were measured over periods of time by Very Long Baseline Interferometers (VLBIs). In the case of quasar 3C279, the apparent velocity of expansion was ten times that of light. The quasars all have rather large redshifts, indicating great distances from earth, but the lone galaxy displaying "superluminal" expansion has a redshift of only 0.032. This fact suggests that superluminal velocities cannot be employed as arguments against redshifts being cosmological; that is, measures of distances from earth. Therefore, if the redshift is truly a measure of distance (as it seems to be), some astronomical structures (perhaps not matter itself) seem to grow faster than the velocity of light.

(Cohen, M.H., et al; "Radio Sources with Superluminal Velocities," Nature, 268:405, 1977.)

From Science Frontiers #1, September 1977. 1977-2000 William R. Corliss