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No. 79: Jan-Feb 1992

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Whence the x-ray background?

A persistent problem needling astronomers has been the diffuse X-ray background radiation; that is, that flux of X-rays that pervades the universe but which seems to come from no place in particular. Distant quasars are thought to contribute some of this diffuse X-ray flux but, even with recent quasar discoveries, there are just not enough of them to account for the X-rays observed. To make matters worse, quasar X- ray spectra do not match that of the X-ray background either, particularly at very short wavelengths.

Superimposed on the general X-ray background are discrete X-ray sources separated by extended blobs of X-ray emitting material. If these blobs are really clumps of clumps of quasars too close to be separated by our instruments, the Big Bang model is at risk, for it cannot account for large, organized assemblages of quasars. (Powell, Corey S.; "X-Ray Riddle," Scientific American, 264:26, March 1991.)

From Science Frontiers #79, JAN-FEB 1992. 1992-2000 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