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No. 13: Winter 1981

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More Anomalous Redshifts

Halton Arp, of the Mount Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories, has discovered three more pairs of galaxies that seem to threaten that cornerstone of astronomy, the redshift distance scale. The new pairs are all in the Southern Hemisphere and, like others on Arp's list, seem to be interacting physically. For example, the filaments of one pair member seem to reach out and connect with the companion. Surely, these dynamically connected galaxies should be equidistant from earth. Such distances are measured by the object's redshift, which is supposedly proportional to its recessional velocity. Thus, each member of a pair should have the same redshift. This does not occur with these three pairs. In one pair, the recessional velocity appears to be 4,600 km/sec for one galaxy and 37,300 km/sec for the other. Arp's conclusion is that at least some of the redshift must be intrinsic; that is, not due to recessional velocity alone. If this is true, the basic cosmological distance scale is suspect.

(Anonymous; "X-ray Quasars Fit Theories ...But Some Galaxies Refuse to Play Ball," New Scientist, 88:22, 1980.)

Reference. For more on discordant redshifts, see AWB7 and AWO4 in our Catalog: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos, which is described here.

From Science Frontiers #13, Winter 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987