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No. 67: Jan-Feb 1990

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A NEW QUASAR DISTANCE RECORD: A NEW EMBARRASSMENT

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