Astrophysicist calls on colleagues to develop better models to explain quasars

Mar 14, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
An X-ray image of the quasar PKS 1127-145, located about 10 billion light-years from Earth. Credit: NASA.

(Phys.org) —Robert Antonucci, professor of astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, suggests in a commentary piece in the journal Nature that he and his colleagues need to develop better models of black-hole systems to help gain more knowledge of quasi-stellar radio sources, known more commonly as quasars. The problem is, he says, after a half century of study, scientists still can't explain how it is that they emit so much energy.

Quasars are highly luminous galactic systems and can be seen from very far away—one was first distance measured only as recently as 50 years ago (it's anniversary coming March 16 likely inspired Antonucci to provide his commentary piece). And while space scientists generally agree that a quasar is likely a region of space with many elements compacted together, all surrounding a , not much else is really known about them. Antonucci says that despite all the research that's been done on them, there are still no good models to describe how they manage to produce so much energy and thus there is no way to predict their behavior. He goes so far as to suggest in comical fashion that the state of science regarding quasars is so limited that researchers should begin hoping an extraterrestrial being will drop by one day to explain it all.

In a more serious vein, Antonucci suggests that it's not an impossible challenge to learn more about quasars, but it will take some effort, and that is the purpose of his article—to push for more research—such as developing stronger computational and computer models and to use new tools such as more sensitive X-ray telescopes to study quasars in better detail.

Because they can be seen from so far away, offer researchers a unique opportunity to peek farther back in time than is offered by other celestial bodies. For that reason, it's important that they be better understood, Antonucci says. Current theories suggest that because they expel jets of energetic particles and emit at radio wavelengths, and because the energy involved is so great, there must be a supermassive black hole at their center. But the details of how it all works is still a mystery and because of that, he says, researchers need to step up their efforts.

Explore further: Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

More information: Astrophysics: Quasars still defy explanation, Nature 495, 165–167 (14 March 2013) doi:10.1038/495165a

Abstract
Fifty years after finding that these cosmic beacons lie far away, astronomers need to think harder about how they radiate so much energy, says Robert Antonucci.

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User comments : 27

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Brilhasti
5 / 5 (4) Mar 14, 2013
Is there no place safe from the misuse of "it's" vs "its"? :(
Claudius
3 / 5 (6) Mar 14, 2013
"astronomers need to think harder about how they radiate so much energy"

Some people claim that quasars have been seen in close association with nearby objects, but seem red-shifted giving the impression they are far away. Perhaps that is why they seem to have so much energy, they are closer than what their red-shift implies.
Moebius
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 14, 2013
If they are simply black holes why are they all only on the other side of the universe, in other words distant in time? It seems they only exist in the past yet we know there are big black holes at the center of galaxies now. If quasars are just black holes then there should be some close by now too and there aren't, they all have large red shifts. Seems to me there is a mystery here.
Q-Star
3.9 / 5 (11) Mar 14, 2013
If they are simply black holes why are they all only on the other side of the universe, in other words distant in time? It seems they only exist in the past yet we know there are big black holes at the center of galaxies now. If quasars are just black holes then there should be some close by now too and there aren't, they all have large red shifts. Seems to me there is a mystery here.


It's the lack of understanding that the article is addressing. The fact they are only found at great distances is thought to be due to

1) The environment necessary for them to form, a more dense universe,,, and

2) Due to the fact that the galaxies nearer to us are older and more mature, they've had longer to settle down so to speak.

Many astrophysicists reason that in fact, most large, old galaxies probably were quasars or other types of "active nucleus galaxies"

We've only possessed the tools to really study them for about a decade or so,,,, the new tools take time to learn how to use.
Maggnus
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 14, 2013
Zephyr is going to say its because of aether.

Cantdrive is going to say it's because of electricity.

vacuum-idiot is going to say it can be explained by vacuum aether and add a link to his webpage.

mohammadshafiq_khan is going to claim everyone else has it wrong and you should visit his website.

johanprins is going to rant about how all the rest are retards and stupid and his idea is best.

All of them are going to say that all the others have it wrong, that they have the gift of sight and we should abandon everything known about everything and restart using their correct means.

Reminds me of the Monty Python scene in Life of Brian where all the different prophets are competing with each other for an audience.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (9) Mar 14, 2013
All of them are going to say that all the others have it wrong, that they have the gift of sight and we should abandon everything known about everything and restart using their correct means.

"He goes so far as to suggest in comical fashion that the state of science regarding quasars is so limited that researchers should begin hoping an extraterrestrial being will drop by one day to explain it all."
And this guy is competing for the attention of ET's? Then again, we could look to a man (Halton Arp) who has spent years studying them, and has concluded what Claudius proposed above, that they are nearby and red shifted due to their young age.
http://www.halton...edshifts
http://www.halton..._pacific
http://www.halton...bursters
http://www.halton...clusters

ET, phone home. Please!
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 14, 2013
In dense aether model the galaxies are largest density fluctuations of vacuum observable: they do evaporate into smaller particles, the neutrinos and photons at the end, whereas they condense from dark matter clouds somewhere else. And these dark matter clouds are mostly formed just with neutrinos and photons. Their density increases spontaneously at the certain places between galaxies (preferentially at the connection lines of existing large galaxies) and when the density of these dark matter clouds exceeds certain critical limit, they ignite nucleosynthesis (local Big Bangs) during it.

Many physicists including Nobel laureates are developing concepts, which are IMO closely related to dense aether paradigm already: dark energy stars and gravastars, which should serve as a precursors of large galaxies: active galactic nuclei and quasars.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 14, 2013
The similar paradigm shift is awaiting the theories of planet formation at smaller scales - whereas most of astrophysicists believe, that the planets are forming with gradual accretion of matter to the planetesimals (i.e. in similar way, which the Big Bang theory considers the condensation of matter into galaxies), few of them are pointing into opposite mechanism: the gravitational collapse of already existing clouds of interstellar matter.

It's somewhat symptomatic, that just the quasars, which do contradict the Big Bang theory in most apparent way can be considered as the best evidence of it at the same moment: they're not distributed quite randomly across observable Universe, but just at the distances larger than 3 GYrs from Earth. This is frankly my biggest problem with quasars. The so-called Doppler anisotropy shift behaves in similar way: whereas it's currently considered as the violation of Big Bang model and as such usually neglected, it actually supports this paradigm well.
yyz
5 / 5 (6) Mar 14, 2013
"Some people claim that quasars have been seen in close association with nearby objects, but seem red-shifted giving the impression they are far away. Perhaps....they are closer than what their red-shift implies."

But many quasars have also been found in close proximity to distant galaxies. Dozens of gravitationally lensed quasars have been ID over the past 30 years, with some of the lensing galaxies lying billions of light years away:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.2011

http://arxiv.org/.../0312427

Some folks like CD85 will parrot Arp and say these quasar(s) (as they often appear as multiple images in lensed systems) were ejected from the lensing galaxy. But this hypothesis fails to account for the lensed quasars' identical, higher redshifts and nearly identical spectra. NO lensed quasars are observed at a lower redshift than the lensing galaxy or galaxy cluster.

Quasar ejection from galaxies, if true, cannot account for that observation.
ValeriaT
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 14, 2013
Perhaps....they are closer than what their red-shift implies
It would support the steady state Universe model better after then. This model really needs to find some quasars in our vicinity. The AWT is orthogonal to Big bang/Steady state model, as it considers the random Universe model at the global scale, but I still do feel, that the distribution of quasars should be more random, than it currently appears.
typicalguy
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 14, 2013
Zephyr is going to say its because of aether.

Cantdrive is going to say it's because of electricity.

vacuum-idiot is going to say it can be explained by vacuum aether and add a link to his webpage.

mohammadshafiq_khan is going to claim everyone else has it wrong and you should visit his website.

johanprins is going to rant about how all the rest are retards and stupid and his idea is best.

All of them are going to say that all the others have it wrong, that they have the gift of sight and we should abandon everything known about everything and restart using their correct means.

Reminds me of the Monty Python scene in Life of Brian where all the different prophets are competing with each other for an audience.

Nice crystal ball!
omatwankr
3 / 5 (8) Mar 14, 2013
Maggnus your hypothesis has passed its (it's, its') first test, seems your were right, either that or psychic.

Tausch
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 14, 2013
lol
I understand johanprins. He has the eyes that see and detect light phase. Such a life form can not imagine us without this ability to see light phase. A life form such as Johan can only see waves. The rest of us were born without this - we can detect particles down to zero volume visual resolution and beyond for lack light phase detection.

Who will be the first to take this ability of Johan's eyesight away, so he sees what the rest of us see? Duality.
This is doable. Our eyesight lack light phase selectivity and sensitivity. If only for theory's sake, he must see our light.
Even if it's only physiological at first.
Tausch
3 / 5 (6) Mar 14, 2013
http://phys.org/n...man.html

Johan will assert we are lacking his vision. Science will retort:

"More of the Neanderthal brain would have been dedicated to vision and body control, leaving less brain to deal with other functions like social networking," explained Oxford anthropologist and lead author Eiluned Pearce.

Tuxford
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 14, 2013
But this hypothesis fails to account for the lensed quasars' identical, higher redshifts and nearly identical spectra. NO lensed quasars are observed at a lower redshift than the lensing galaxy or galaxy cluster.


If quasars are always distant, per their red-shift, and always have similar spectra, then likely they are all sourced from a similar type of object. The commonality is the red-shift, not necessarily the distance. This is likely the mistake of cosmologists. In SubQuantum Kinectics, light emerging from a deep gravitational well of a massive body experiences red shift. Likely, quasars have grown so massive and active that the light emitted therefrom is simply highly red-shifted, regardless of the distance from Earth.

And an object of similar massive size, would have likely experienced a similar evolution, and come to a somewhat stable point of mass production versus ejection rate. Such a system would thereby likely have a stable component mix, and spectra.
yash17
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 15, 2013
"He goes so far as to suggest in comical fashion that the state of science regarding quasars is so limited that researchers should begin hoping an extraterrestrial being will drop by one day to explain it all."

Then, that extraterrestrial being will code us: "The extremely luminous Quasars are actually dying galaxies."
Benni
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 15, 2013
vacuum-idiot is going to say......


@ Mag

Knock it off OK?

This is a science forum, not a name calling forum. When you have a difference of opinion, state the science for it not the diatribes. Diatribes & personal invectives only foment more of the same.
Maggnus
3 / 5 (4) Mar 15, 2013
Why Benni? Why repeatedly state the science on a science site that is being overwhelmed by pseudo-scientific psycho-babble? Do you think he reads it? Do you think he will make an iota of effort to understand it?

And the very next time an article comes up that his deluded mind thinks might somehow be connected to his pseudo-science, will that stop him from spamming the site? Look at Zephyr. He has admitted he doesn't understand the underlying maths of the physics he claims to over-throw, but how many posts do you see from him alone, on this thread?

Its not just a difference of opinion Benni. A difference of opinion suggests a common ground upon which to debate the issues. There is no debate here, nothing you say will make any difference to someone like vacuum=whatever or Zephyr or mohammad or the others. I call them what they are.
katesisco
1 / 5 (6) Mar 15, 2013
Read, no wiser.
Microquasar found beyond our Milky Way (nrao.edu) previous all found in MW, like original quasars.
I don't think there is galactic lensing via gravity; I think it is magnetic via 4.4 * 10 to the 13 power Gauss. Loopy magnetism. For what its worth I think Sol is a gas-wrapped magnetar and the magnetism distorts what we see.
katesisco
1 / 5 (5) Mar 15, 2013
The Methuselah star noted above should be --because of its age--suspected to have superior packaging because of its durability in transit.
barakn
5 / 5 (4) Mar 15, 2013
This is likely the mistake of cosmologists. In SubQuantum Kinectics, light emerging from a deep gravitational well of a massive body experiences red shift. Likely, quasars have grown so massive and active that the light emitted therefrom is simply highly red-shifted, regardless of the distance from Earth.
What you meant was "in mainstream physics, light emerging from a deep gravitational well of a massive body experiences red shift." The volume of a shell of material at distance r from the center of gravity is proportional to r^3. It is thus obvious to anyone with at least half a brain that the small amount of highly redshifted light from near the center will be dwarfed by a much larger amount of much less red-shifted light from further out. This doesn't even take into consideration that compared to outside observers like us, time will slow down for stuff near the center, further lowering the emission rate of the red-shifted light and making it even dimmer.
barakn
5 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2013
Furthermore, the light from further in is far more likely to be scattered or absorbed on its way out because of all the intervening material. What we see is essentially a fuzzy surface that is away from the center of gravity and therefore not suffering from gravitational redshift.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2013
vacuum-idiot is going to say....


@ Mag

Knock it off OK?

This is a science forum, not a name calling forum. When you have a difference of opinion, state the science for it ...


Good advice. So can you provide a model that predicts the spectra of all types of quasars including BL Lacs, OVV, Seyfert types I and II etc.?

If quasars are always distant, per their red-shift, and always have similar spectra, then likely they are all sourced from a similar type of object.


The problem is that quasars have a range of extremely different spectra, but composed of similar components, always narrow lines, sometimes broad lines, x-rays, gamma rays, radio loud or radio quiet. The trick is to produce an explanation that fits them all. Here's a primer on the current model, it works reasonably well but has room for improvement:

http://abyss.uore...es/lec12
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (4) Mar 16, 2013
What we see is essentially a fuzzy surface that is away from the center of gravity and therefore not suffering from gravitational redshift.


In reality, with the proper alignment, we see the intense light from the accretion disc with variations in the range of a few hours hence close to the inner edge just a few Schwarzschild radii from the event horizon. It shows a spectrum in which we can distinguish gravitational redshift, transverse Doppler (relativistic) redshift, blue and red Doppler shift from opposite sides of the disc and the asymmetry of intensity caused by relativistic beaming.

Please check the facts before offering your interpretation.
VENDItardE
1 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2013
If quasars are always distant, per their red-shift, and always have similar spectra, then likely they are all sourced from a similar type of object.


The problem is that quasars have a range of extremely different spectra, but composed of similar components, always narrow lines, sometimes broad lines, x-rays, gamma rays, radio loud or radio quiet. The trick is to produce an explanation that fits them all. Here's a primer on the current model, it works reasonably well but has room for improvement:

http://abyss.uore...es/lec12

Object not found!

The requested URL was not found on this server. The link on the referring page seems to be wrong or outdated. Please inform the author of that page about the error.

If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.

Error 404

abyss.uoregon.edu
Fleetfoot
not rated yet Mar 17, 2013
Here's a primer on the current model, it works reasonably well but has room for improvement:


Object not found!


Sorry, the character limit removed the ".html" from the end of the link and I didn't notice:

http://abyss.uore...c12.html
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2013
Recently the very old star has been observed near Earth. Actually it even appeared slightly more older, than our Universe. Anyway, it just means, that the old objects can be mixed with very young ones without problem in Big Bang theory.


That's correct provided the objects in question can have a long life. The first stars would have been larger and therefore have shorter lives on average but any distribution has a tail and a few of the smallest might still survive.

I don't bother with details of math models used, because I know their results. I know, what the Big Bang theory predicts.

It therefore doesn't explain, why we observe the quasars in medium range of observable Universe only.


That just demonstrates that you neither know what it explains or what we see. The distribution is exactly what the model predicts and even the black hole in our own galaxy will probably become a quasar when we merge with Andromeda in a few billion years. You can't get closer than that.

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