Posts Tagged ‘Nordic Optical Telescope’


Thursday, April 12th, 2012

RXJ0911+0551 is another excellent example of a multiple quasar system described as a gravitational lens by astronomers and astrophysicists.  As with my previous two examples, the Einstein Cross and PG1115+80, this system consists of four high redshift quasars encircling a lower redshift central galaxy.  In SIMBAD the quasars are listed as a single object QSO B0908+0603 and the central galaxy is listed as [KCH2000] L2.    QSO B0908+0603 is listed as having a redshift of 2.7933 z which supposedly places it at a distance of 11.5 billion light years  using a so-called Hubble Constant value of 70 (km/s)/Mpc.   [KCH2000] L2 is listed as having a redshift of 0.7689 z which supposedly places it at a distance of 6.8 billion light years from Earth also using a so-called Hubble Constant value of 70 (km/s)/Mpc.  However, despite being allegedly separated by a distance of almost five billion light years, filaments of material can be seen connecting the central galaxy with the surrounding quasars in this system.

The above pair of images is from the CfA-Arizona Space Telescope LEns Survey (CASTLES) which utilized Hubble Space Telescope optical and near infrared images using NICMOS/NIC2 for H band observations and WFPC2/PC1 for V and I band images when none exist.  The image on the right has been “cleaned” using image filtering software based on hypothetical gravitational lens models.  Yet the image still clearly shows faint streamers of material between the central galaxy and encircling quasars, but they are not mirrored as would be expected in a gravitational lens.   The near-infrared image on the right is from the 2.56 m Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) using the High Resolution Adaptive Camera (HIRAC) and from the ESO 3.5 m New Technology Telescope (NTT) using the “Son of ISAAC” (SOFI) near-infrared camera.  It shows a jet of material on both sides of the central galaxy with one jet connecting it with the lower left quasar in the system.  But again nothing is mirrored as would be expected in a true gravitational lens.

Astronomers have observed the x-ray fluctuations of the four quasars in RXJ0911+0551 in the hopes that a shared flare up between them would prove that they are merely mirages of the same background quasar.   A sudden increase in x-ray intensity was detected using the Chandra X-ray Observatory.  But the flare up, which lasted for more than half an hour, only occurred for one of the four quasars.  Astronomers measured x-ray intensities of the four quasars for over eight hours but the flare up never repeated in any of the other three.  The image below on the left is taken from the Chandra Press Room and shows the light curves of two of the quasars with the flare up clearly visible in one and not the other.  Astronomers refused to give up and claimed that the flare ups of the other quasars must have occurred before their observations were made.  The astronomers also claimed that a long term observation of this system will reveal shared flare ups among the quasar “mirages” providing precise extragalactic measurements and thereby allowing the expansion rate of the universe to be better estimated.  The original observations were made back in 2000 and despite all of these claims there have still yet to be any long term observations made of RXJ0911+0551.

Time and again scientists have tried to prove that this quadruple quasar system is a gravitational lens and time and again they have failed.  It is interesting that multiple quasar systems contain a limited number of quasars encircling a central galaxy in a limited number of positions.  What can account for this and for the bridges of material between these objects?  As I speculated in my previous examples, perhaps this is due to the quasars being ejected from the central galaxy in a symmetrical tetrahedral pattern.  An excellent way to visualize such a pattern is to look at a Jmol model of a methane molecule.  I am not suggesting that methane plays any role in multiple quasar systems.   But the four hydrogen atoms surrounding the carbon atom in a methane molecule can be rotated to very closely match the positions of the quasars in multiple quasar systems, including RXJ0911+0551 as shown in the image below on the right.

The reason that quasars ejected from a central galaxy could be positioned in such a way is simplicity.  A tetrahedron has the least number of faces and angles of any geometric solid.   The least number of objects, other than a pair, that can be evenly spaced with matching angles around another centralized object is four, but only if they are positioned at the vertices of an imaginary orthographically projected tetrahedron.

There are many more examples of tetrahedral symmetry displayed in compact multiple quasar systems, several of which I would like to post.  But tell me readers, do you think this is a viable explanation for what has been reported as gravitational lensing in many systems?  Or are there other alternatives that can better explain the number and positioning of quasars in these multiple quasar systems?  Let me know and thanks for reading!


NGC 7603 and NGC 7603B

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

NGC 7603 and 7603B opticalThe Seyfert galaxy NGC 7603 and its companion NGC 7603B (PGC 07041) was a close contender for my first post of discordant redshift examples.  Ultimately NGC 4319 and Markarian 205 won out because it not only showed a visible connection between two discordant redshift objects but it represents a perfect example of denial and possibly even suppression by NASA and the scientific community.  NGC 7603 and 7603B is actually a better example of connected discordant redshift objects.  But the connection is so overwhelming obvious there can be no real denial or suppression of its existence.  The photograph to the right shows the larger galaxy NGC 7603 clearly connected to its smaller companion galaxy NGC 7603B via a curved bridge of matter.  The photograph is unaltered as downloaded from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey SkyServer website.  The redshifts of the two objects have been known for some time and are discussed in Dr. Halton Arp’s books Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies (Interstellar Media, 1987) and Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (Apeiron, 1998).  In fact, this group of objects was included as Arp 92 in Dr. Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies published by Caltech in 1966.  The redshift of the spectrum of NGC 7603 as listed in NED is 0.029524 z which would place it at a distance of over 500 million light-years from Earth using a so-called Hubble Constant value of 55 (km/s)/Mpc.   However the redshift of NGC 7603B as listed in NED is 0.055742 z which would supposedly place it at almost twice that distance at over 950 million light years from Earth.  It is unequivocal that the redshifts of these two visibly connected objects do not indicate distance unless one wants to entertain the notion that the bridge of connecting matter is over 450 million light-years in length.

Upon closer inspection of the above photograph two smaller points of light can be seen embedded within the connecting bridge of matter between the two galaxies, one near each end of the bridge.  The SkyServer site describes these objects as stars but close examination of their spectra and the spectra of the bridge itself reveals something much more intriguing.  On June 13, 2000 astronomers Martin López-Corredoira and Carlos M. NGC 7603 and 7603B R-bandGutiérrez took a detailed R-band (near infrared) photograph of NGC 7603 and NGC 7603B using the 2.6 meter Nordic Optical Telescope on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands.  They then followed up with a detailed spectroscopic analysis of the bridge of matter and embedded point objects on August 12, 2001.  The image on the left is taken from their report in Astronomy & Astrophysics and has been unaltered accept for a size reduction to better fit it on this page.

The top half of the image shows a 15-minute exposure of NGC 7603 and NGC 7603B (Object 1) in near infrared light (0.7-1.0 µm) and their redshifts which, including their range of deviation, closely match the measurements listed in NED for the two objects.  Of course the most important discovery in their observations was that the two star-like objects were indeed quasars with high redshifts of 0.243 z and 0.391 z.  If redshifts really did indicate distance this would place Object 2 at over 3.6 billion light-years from Earth and Object 3 at over 5.4 billion light-years respectively using a so-called Hubble Constant value of 55 (km/s)/Mpc.

The bottom half of the image shows a close-up of the bridge of matter, referred to as “filament” in the A&A report.  The dotted lines indicate the 5 arcsecond-wide slit in the spectrograph where the spectra of all three objects including sections of the filament itself were taken.   As can be seen, the redshift of the filament almost exactly matches the redshift of NGC 7603 which clearly demonstrates that the bridge of connecting matter is part of that galaxy.  But most importantly this detailed view shows that regardless of the extreme distances attributed to Objects 2 and 3 because of their redshifts they are indeed embedded in the filament of matter connecting NGC 7603 and Object 1 (NGC 7603B).  In fact, this detailed view shows a bulge of material extending from the right side of NGC 7603B into the connecting filament and ending at the left edge of Object 2.  There is also clearly a stream of material extending out from the bottom of NGC 7603 into the filament and ending at the right edge of Object 3.

You would think that the discovery of such an obvious group of vastly discordant redshifts would have garnered some sort of response from the mainstream scientific community, whether positive or negative.  But unless you count the rejection of the findings by Nature and the Astrophysical Journal, there has been mostly silence.  So far these observations by López-Corredoira and Gutiérrez have not been referenced in any mainstream science journals or publications, particularly by astronomers in the United States.  It is very fortunate that their findings were published at all.  All scientists and lovers of science should be thankful that the European Astronomy and Astrophysics Journal had the courage to do so, albeit with some help from an “anonymous” referee.

For more information regarding the NGC 7603 system and its history of rejection by the scientific community I recommend reading the works of Halton Arp mentioned above and the introduction to Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb’s book The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies (Willmann-Bell, 2006).  Do you have questions or comments about this example?  Do you have an example you would like to contribute?  Your input is not only welcomed, it is encouraged.

Thanks for reading!