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No. 67: Jan-Feb 1990

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A quasar has been detected with a redshift of 4.73. If this redshift is interpreted as a measure of the quasar's distance (Who would risk his reputation by suggesting otherwise?), it is 14 or billion light years away. If the Big Bang is assumed (Who would risk..etc?), this quasar is only about a billion light years from the edge of the universe. Its age, then, is only a billion years. But this stripling of a quasar appears perfectly "normal" with no signs of youth! Its spectrum indicates that even at this young age, the elements were present in the same abundances found in older quasars. And, of course, at this quasar's core there must be a billion-solar-mass black hole (Who would risk..etc.?). Current theory is hardpressed to explain this very rapid evolution of a "normal" quasar with its immense black hole. (Peterson, I.; "Quasar Illuminates the Most Distant Past," Science News, 136: 340, 1989.)

Comment. Could it be that our fanatically held ideas about redshifts, black holes, and Big Bangs are wrong? You bet it could!

Reference. The redshift controversy the the anomalies that create it are cataloged in: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #67, JAN-FEB 1990. 1990-2000 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