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No. 34: Jul-Aug 1984

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A Gathering Of Quasars

The universe is supposed to be approximately uniform in all directions -- the evenly distributed smoke from the Big Bang. Halton Arp, an energetic opponent of the standard cosmological view, points out that quasars are socializing in disgracefully large numbers in one region of the sky. In the direction of the so-called Local Cluster of galaxies, between redshifts 1.2-2.5, there are roughly four times as many quasars per unit volume as in the other parts of the sky. This unexpected clumping of quasars affects a region 1,3000 million light years in diameter and 4.875 million light years deep, a rather substantial chunk of the cosmos. Arp's discovery places astronomy in a no-win situation. Either the distribution of quasars is too clumpy for current theory or the redshift/distance law is wrong. Neither situation makes astronomers very happy.

(Anonymous; "Quasars and Quasi Quasars," New Scientist, p. 20, May 17, 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #34, JUL-AUG 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss