21 Quasar Theory

CHAPTER 21

Quasar Theory

The key to an understanding of the quasars and associated phenomena is a recognition of their status as the galactic equivalents of the class of white dwarfs known as pulsars. The theory of the upper speed ranges developed in Chapter 15 and applied to the products of the supernova explosions in the subsequent discussion can be applied in the same manner to the quasars, with such modifications as are appropriate in view of the differences between stars and galaxies.

Aside from these differences due to the larger size, more complex structure, stronger gravitational forces, etc., the galactic explosions are analogous to the supernovae, the major products of the galactic explosions are analogous to the major products of the supernovae, and the unusual properties of the ultra high speed component of the galactic explosion products are analogous to the unusual properties of the ultra high speed product of the Type II supernova, the fast-moving white dwarf that we call a pulsar. The “mysterious” quasars are not so mysterious after all, except in the sense that all entities and phenomena are mysterious if they are viewed in the context of erroneous theories or assumptions.

The analogy between the white dwarfs and the quasars is so obvious that it should have been recognized immediately, in general, if not in detail, when the quasars were first discovered. The white dwarf is a star whose distinctive property is a density far outside the range of the densities of normal stars. The quasar is an aggregate of stars, one of the most distinctive properties of which is a density far outside the range of the densities of normal stellar aggregates. The conclusion that these new objects, the quasars, are the galactic equivalent of the white dwarfs follows almost automatically. But however natural this conclusion may be, the astronomers cannot accept it because they are committed to conflicting ideas that have been derived from single purpose theories and have been generalized into universal laws.

The explosive events that produce these two classes of objects differ in some respects, but the general situation is the same in both cases. One component of the products of both types of explosions is ejected with a speed less than that of light. Since this is the normal speed in the material sector of the universe, this product is an object of a familiar type, a rather commonplace aggregate of the units of which the exploding object was originally composed. The constituent units of a star are atoms and molecules. When a star explodes it breaks down into these units, and we therefore see a cloud of atomic, molecular, and multimolecular particles emanating from the site of the explosion. But there is also a second component, a peculiar object known as a white dwarf star, which we have now identified as a cloud of similar particles that has been ejected with a speed greater than that of light, and is therefore expanding into time rather than into space.

Some of the products of the galactic explosion are likewise reduced to atomic or particle size, but the basic units of which a galaxy is composed are stars, and hence the material ejected by the explosion comes out mainly in the form of stars. Instead of clouds of gas and dust particles, the galactic explosion produces “clouds” of stars: fragments of the original giant galaxy. Here, as in the supernova explosion, one of the products of a full scale galactic explosion acquires a speed in excess of that of light, while the other remains below that level. The aggregate of stars traveling at normal speed is also normal in other respects, the only prominent distinguishing feature being the strong radio emission in the early stages, due to the intermediate speed matter incorporated in the aggregate. This product is a radio galaxy. The ultra high speed product is a quasar.

As noted in Chapter 20, while the additional studies that have been made since the original publication of the theory in 1959 have confirmed most of the conclusions therein expressed, the early views as to the mechanism of the galactic explosion have been modified to some extent. It is now evident that there is a build-up of pressure in the interiors of the giant galaxies due to Type II supernova explosions that occur in large numbers when the old stars in the central regions begin to reach their age limits. The enormous internal pressure thus generated eventually reaches a point at which it blows out a section of the overlying mass of the galaxy, in the manner of a boiler explosion. When the pressure is relieved, the galactic structure reforms, and the building up of the internal pressure is resumed. In due course this results in a repetition of the galactic explosion. As predicted in the 1959 edition, a long series of such explosive events ultimately destroys the galaxy.

The build-up of internal pressure that occurs in the central regions of the giant galaxies, according to our deductions from the postulates that define the universe of motion, would be impossible on the basis of previous astronomical thought, as conventional theory provides no means of containment of energetic stars or particles. But our finding is that the stars in any aggregate occupy equilibrium positions, and they resist any displacement from these positions. The outer regions of a galaxy thus act as the walls of a container, resisting the internal forces, and confining the high speed material to the interior of the galaxy where the large-scale disintegration of stars is taking place. As we saw in Chapter 19, there is some leakage through the confining walls, but the fact that evidence of leakage is detected only in the vicinity of the largest galaxies (Reference 167) indicates that it does not reach major proportions until the internal pressure is almost strong enough to accomplish the break-through. When the internal pressure does finally arrive at the level at which it overcomes the resistance, a whole section of the overlying portion of the galaxy is blown off as a quasar.

A study of quasar sizes, which will be discussed later, indicates that these ejected fragments of the giant galaxies range in size from about 7×107 stars, the size of a dwarf elliptical galaxy, to about 2×109 stars, the size of a small spiral. In the pages that follow it will be shown that the theoretical properties of galactic fragments of these sizes, moving at ultra high speeds in the explosion dimension, are identical with the observed properties of the quasars.

It is worth noting at this point that the foregoing explanation of the nature and origin of the quasars is not in conflict with existing quasar theory, as the astronomers have not yet been able to formulate a theory of the quasars.

As yet we have no unique theory and no single model that explains the nature of quasars, let alone their origin or source of energy.236 (Martin Harwit)

Nor do they have a theory as to how and why galaxies explode. Even their theories of stellar explosions are admittedly little more than speculations.

We should emphasize at the outset that modern science does not yet have a genuine theory of stellar explosions at its disposal.237 (I. S. Shklovsky)

Motion of an astronomical object perpendicular to the line of sight—proper motion, as it is known to the astronomers—can be measured or at least detected, by observation of the change of position of the object with respect to the general pattern of astronomical positions. Motion in the line of sight is measured by means of the Doppler effect. the change in the frequency of the radiation from the object that takes place when the emitter is moving toward or away from the observer. No proper motion of the quasars or other very distant galaxies has been detected, and we may therefore conclude that the random vectorial motions of these galaxies are too small to be observable at the enormous distances that separate us from these objects. By reason of the progression of the natural reference system, however, the distant galaxies are receding from each other and from the earth at high speeds that increase in direct proportion to the distance. The Doppler effect due to these speeds shifts the spectra toward the red in the same proportion. Inasmuch as an approximate value of the relation between redshift and distance (the Hubble constant) can be obtained by observation of the nearby galaxies whose distance can be approximated by other methods, the redshift serves, in current practice, as a means of measuring the distances to galaxies that are beyond the reach of other methods.

One of the most striking features of the quasars is that their redshifts are fantastically high in comparison with those of other astronomical objects. While the largest redshift thus far (1983) measured for a normal galaxy is 0.67 (Reference 238), some of the quasar redshifts are near 4.00. If we assume, as most astronomers now do, that these are ordinary recession redshifts, then the quasars must be by far the most distant objects ever detected in the universe.

Our theoretical development indicates that from the standpoint of distance in space this conclusion is erroneous. In the context of the theory of the universe of motion, the normal recession redshift cannot exceed 1.0O, as this value corresponds to the speed of light, the full speed of the progression of the natural reference system, the level that is reached when the effect of gravitation becomes negligible. Even without any detailed consideration, it is therefore evident that the observed quasar redshift includes another component in addition to the recession shift. From the account that has been given of the origin of the quasar it can readily be seen that this excess over and above the redshift due to the normal recession is a result of the motion in additional dimensions that has been imparted to the quasar by the violent galactic explosion.

As brought out in Chapter 15, an object with a speed intermediate between one unit (the speed of light) and two units is moving in the spatial equivalent of a time magnitude. This motion in equivalent space is not capable of representation in the spatial reference system, except where it reverses a gravitationally caused change of position. The Doppler shift, on the other hand, is a simple numerical relation, a scalar total of the speed magnitudes in all dimensions, independent of the reference system. The effective portion of the speed in equivalent space therefore appears as a component of the quasar redshift.

The qualification “effective” has to be included in the foregoing statement because the quasar motion beyond the unit speed level takes place in two scalar dimensions, only one of which is coincident with the dimension of the spatial reference system. The motion in the other equivalent space dimension has no effect on the outward radial speed, and therefore does not enter into the Doppler shift.

Perhaps it would be well to add some further explanation on this point, since the idea of scalar motion in two dimensions is unfamiliar, and probably somewhat confusing to those who encounter it for the first time. In application to scalar motion, the term “dimension” is being used in the mathematical sense, rather than in the geometrical sense; that is, a two-dimensional scalar quantity is one that requires two independent scalar magnitudes for a complete definition. When such a two-dimensional scalar quantity is superimposed on a commensurable one-dimensional quantity, as in the extension of the one-dimensional scalar motion into the two-dimensional region, only one of the two scalar magnitudes of the two-dimensional quantity adds to the one-dimensional magnitude. Since the other is, by definition, independent of the magnitude with which it is associated in two dimensions, it is likewise independent of the one-dimensional quantity that adds to that associated magnitude.

On the basis of the theory developed in Chapter 15, the total redshift (a measure of the total effective speed) of an object moving with a speed greater than unity is the recession redshift plus half of the two-dimensional addition. As explained in the earlier discussion, the resulting value is normally z + 3.5z½. Since both the recession in space and the explosion-generated motion in equivalent space are directed outward, no blueshifts are produced by either component of the quasar motion.

The question as to the interpretation of the redshifts has been a lively source of controversy ever since the original discovery of the quasars. Both of the alternatives available within the limits of conventional astronomical theory are faced with serious difficulties. If the redshift is accepted as an ordinary Doppler effect, due to the galactic recession, the indicated distances are so enormous that other properties of the quasars, particularly the energy emission, are inexplicable. On the other hand, if the redshift is not due, or not entirely due, to the recession speed, current theory has no tenable hypothesis as to the mechanism by which it is produced. So the question at issue, as matters now stand, is not which alternative is correct, but which of the two untenable alternatives currently available should be given preference for the time being.

Firm evidence bearing on this issue is difficult to obtain. Arguments on one side or the other of the question are based mainly on apparent association between quasars and other objects. Apparent associations with similar redshifts are offered as evidence in support of the simple Doppler shift, or “cosmological,” hypothesis. The opponents counter with what appear to be associations between objects whose redshifts differ, evidence, they contend that two different processes are at work. Each group brands the opponents’ associations as spurious.

Obviously, a kind of evidence that supports both sides of an argument does not settle the issue. Something more than the mere existence of what may be an association between astronomical objects is needed before a firm conclusion can be derived from observation. In the next chapter we will examine the only case now known in which enough additional information is available to enable reaching firm conclusions.

Some attempts have been made to derive support for the cosmological hypothesis from the existence of absorption redshifts, the thought being that the absorption may take place in a cloud of matter existing somewhere in the line of sight, but this idea has never made much headway, as it has become increasingly clear that the absorption redshifts are intrinsic to the quasars. Correlation of redshift with observed brightness has also been called upon to provide an empirical foundation for the currently popular hypothesis. For example, the results of a comparison by Bahcall and Hills were summarized in a news report as follows: “The point is simply that, by and large, quasars with large redshifts seem dimmer than those with small redshifts, just as we would expect if they are farther away.”239 This is valid evidence against the “local” hypothesis, which asserts that the quasars have been ejected from our own, or some nearby, galaxy, but it does not favor the cosmological hypothesis over the assertions of its present-day critics, who merely contend that there is a second component in the observed redshift, in addition to the component due to the normal recession.

A somewhat more substantial item of support for the cosmological hypothesis that has been increasing in popularity in recent years is the finding that there is observable “fuzz” surrounding many of the quasars. This is interpreted as evidence that the quasars are simply the active cores of highly disturbed galaxies, similar to the Seyfert galaxies, but more extreme, Super-Seyferts, so to speak. However, conclusions of this kind, which are welcomed by the investigators because they tend to support currently popular theories, are not usually given the critical scrutiny that is applied to less favored products. If we look at this conclusion without the rose-colored glasses, we will note the following points: (1) Some “fuzz” can be expected around many of the quasars without any normal galaxy being present. Its existence is demonstrated by the absorption redshifts. (2) In view of the presence of the very bright quasars, much, perhaps most, of the optical radiation from the “fuzz” is reflected light. (3) The properties of the quasars are not merely more extreme manifestations of the properties of the Seyferts; in many respects they are quite different. (4) Even if this “fuzz” argument were valid, it does not come to grips with the key problem of the cosmological hypothesis: the utter inability to account for the enormous energy output. Thus it does not change the essential element of the situation.

Most astronomers accept the cosmological hypothesis, not because of the weight of the evidence, but because they know of no mechanism whereby the second redshift component can be generated, and they are not willing to concede the existence of an unknown mechanism. This leaves them with the necessity of finding a new mechanism whereby energy can be generated in amounts vastly exceeding not only the capabilities of any known energy generation process, but also the total energy available in any known source. Just why this should be the preferred alternative is rather difficult to understand. In either case, something new must be found, but an explanation of the energy generation process must also provide for an enormous extension of the magnitude of known energy generation processes. Some hypotheses of a far-out nature have been advanced to meet this requirement, but as noted by Jastrow and Thompson:

These ideas [about the energy of the quasars] are not supported by observational evidence. They are no more than desperate efforts by the astronomer to take the most luminous single objects that he has ever discovered and scale these objects upward in size and mass by factors of a million-fold or more, without any valid theoretical reason for doing so.233

In any event, the application of the theory of the universe of motion to this situation now eliminates the need for any new kind of a mechanism, as it identifies the second redshift component as another Doppler shift, produced in the same manner as the normal recession redshift, and constituting a scalar addition to the normal shift.

As in the case of the pulsars discussed in Chapter 17, the quasar remains as a discrete object in the spatial reference system until the two-unit boundary of the material sector is reached. But there is an important difference. The gravitational retardation of the pulsar by the remnants of the star from which it originated is relatively minor. It may be slowed up to some extent at a later stage of its existence by the combined effect of other stars in the neighborhood, but it is never subject to any strong gravitational effect. As a result it reaches the sector boundary and converts to motion in time relatively soon. It is therefore a short-lived object (astronomically speaking). The quasar, on the other hand, is subject from the start to the gravitational forces of an entire galaxy of somewhere near 1012 solar masses. It therefore accelerates slowly and appears as a visible object in space for a long period of time while the gravitational attraction is being overcome.

If the quasar is not destroyed by internal violence during its visible life, it finally disappears when the point of conversion to the cosmic status is reached. As we saw in Chapter 15, the explosion redshift, 3.5z½., at this point is 2.00. The corresponding recession redshift is 0.3265, and the total quasar redshift is 2.3265. (In the ensuing discussion the last digit will be dropped, as the redshift measurements are not currently carried to more than four significant figures.) Here the motion in space converts to motion in time. An alternative that may take precedence under appropriate conditions will be discussed in Chapter 23.

In this connection, it is interesting to note that while current astronomical theory regards the range of quasar speeds as extending without interruption up to beyond the 3.5 level, the observers have reported evidence indicating that something occurs in the vicinity of what we have identified as the cut-off point at 2.326. This evidence and its implications will be included in the discussion in Chapter 23.

The energy imparted to the galactic fragment identified as a quasar is, of course, shared between the motion of the individual stars within the fragment, that of the associated dust and gas, and the motion of the object as a whole. Indeed, a considerable portion of the total energy involved is communicated to the constituent stars during the build-up of the explosive forces before the ejection actually takes place. We may deduce, therefore, that most, or all, of the stars in the quasar are individually moving at speeds in the upper ranges. The quasar is consequently expanding in time, which means that it is contracting in equivalent space. Hence, like the white dwarfs, which are abnormally small stars, the quasars are abnormally small galaxies (from the spatial standpoint).

This is the peculiarity that has given them their name. They are “quasistellar” sources of radiation, mere points like the stars, rather than extended sources like the normal galaxies. Some dimensions and structure are now being observed with the aid of powerful instruments and special techniques, but this new information merely confirms the earlier understanding that as galaxies, or galactic fragments, they are extremely small. The most critical issue in the whole quasar situation, as seen in the context of current thought, is “the problem of understanding how quasars can radiate as much energy as galaxies while their diameters are some thousand times smaller.”240

But this is not a unique problem; it is a replay of a record with which we are already familiar. We know that there is a class of stars, the white dwarfs, which radiate as much energy as some ordinary stars, while their diameters are many times smaller. Now we find that there is a class of galaxies, the quasars, that has the same characteristics. All that is required for an understanding is a recognition of the fact that these are phenomena of the same kind. It is true that the currently accepted theory of the white dwarfs contains an explanation of their small sizes that cannot be extended to the quasars, but the obvious conclusion from this is that the current theory of the white dwarfs is wrong. In the universe of motion the abnormally small dimensions are due to the same cause in both cases. Speeds in excess of the speed of light introduce motion in time, which has the effect of reducing the equivalent space occupied by each object. As pointed out earlier, the quasars are simply the galactic equivalent of the white dwarf stars.

The brightness of the quasars, another of their special characteristics, is also a result of their abnormally small spatial size. The area from which the radiation of a quasar originates is much smaller than that of a normal galaxy of equivalent size, while the emission is greater because of the greater energy density. In this case, the situation is somewhat more complex than in the white dwarf stars. The increase in the intensity of emission from these stars is mainly a matter of radiating a similar amount of energy from a smaller surface. The corresponding increase in the emission per unit of surface area of the stars of the quasar has no effect on the radiation per unit of surface area of this object as a whole, but an increase in the radiation intensity is produced by the greater stellar density—that is, the larger number of stars per unit of volume due to the small size of the quasar. The intensity of the radiation is still further increased by the emission from the large concentrations of fast-moving gas and dust particles in the quasars, a galactic component that is not present in normal galaxies. The radiation from these two separate sources in the quasars can be identified with the two observed radiation components, that with a line spectrum from diffuse matter, and that with a continuous spectrum from the stars.

Because of the diversity of the processes that are taking place in the quasars, the frequencies of the emitted radiation extend over a wide range. As explained in Chapter 18 thermal and other processes affecting the linear motions of atoms generate radiation that is emitted principally at wavelengths relatively close to that corresponding to unit speed, 9.l2×10-6 cm, whereas processes such as radioactivity that alter the rotational motions of the atoms generate radiation that is mainly at wavelengths far distant from this level. Explosions of stars or galaxies, particularly the latter, cause rotational readjustments of both the material and cosmic types, hence these events generate both very long wave radiation (radio) and very short wave radiation (x-rays and gamma rays). as well as thermal and inverse thermal radiation.

The question as to the origin of the large amount of energy radiated from the quasars has been a serious problem ever since the discovery of these objects. The new information derived from the theory of the universe of motion has now resolved this problem. First, it has drastically scaled down the indicated magnitude of this energy. The finding that the greater part of the quasar motion indicated by its redshift has no effect on the position of this object in space, and that, as a consequence, the quasar is much less distant than the cosmological interpretation of the redshift would indicate, makes a very substantial reduction in the calculated energy emission. The further finding that the radiation is distributed two-dimensionally rather than three-dimensionally simplifies the problem even more significantly.

For example, if we find that we are receiving the same amount of radiation from a quasar as from a certain nearby star, and the quasar is a billion (109) times as tar away as the star, then if the quasar radiation is distributed over three dimensions, as currently assumed, the quasar must be emitting a billion billion (1018) times as much energy as the star. But on the basis of the two-dimensional distribution that takes place in equivalent space, according to the theory. of the universe of motion. the quasar is only radiating a billion (109) times as much energy as the star. Even in astronomy, where extremely large numbers are commonplace, a reduction of the energy requirements by a factor of a billion is very substantial. An object that radiates the energy of a billion billion (1018) stars is emitting a million times the energy of a giant spheroidal galaxy, the largest aggregate of matter in the known universe (about 1012stars), and attempting to account for the production of such a colossal amount of energy is a hopeless task, as matters now stand. On the other hand, an object that radiates the energy of a billion (109) stars is equivalent, from the energy standpoint, to no more than a rather small galaxy.

While the theory is thus drastically scaling down the amount of energy to be accounted for, it is at the same time providing a large new source of energy to meet the reduced requirements. The disintegration of an atom at the upper destructive limit can result in the complete conversion of the atomic mass into energy. Inasmuch as the magnetic ionization of the matter of which a star is composed is uniform throughout a large portion of the mass, the explosion of the star at this upper limit is theoretically able to convert a major part of the stellar mass into energy. It should also be noted that the quasar is not called upon to provide its own initial energy supply. The giant galaxy from which the quasar is ejected provides the kinetic energy that accelerates a quasar as a whole and its constituent stars to upper range speeds. All that the quasar itself has to do is to meet the subsequent energy requirements.

A point that has given considerable trouble to those who are attempting to put the observational data with respect to the quasars into some coherent pattern is the existence of relatively large fluctuations in the output of radiation from some of these objects in very short intervals of time. This imposes some limits on the sizes of the regions from which the radiation is being emitted, and thereby complicates the already difficult problem of accounting for the magnitude of the energy being radiated. Our new theoretical development has eliminated these difficulties. The answers to the size and energy problems have been derived from the fundamental premises of the theory of the universe of motion in the foregoing pages. When viewed in the context of these general findings, identification of the primary source of the energy as a large number of individual stellar explosions that accelerate their products to speeds in excess of the speed of light is sufficient to account for the fluctuations.

One feature of the quasars that has been given a great deal of attention by the astronomers is their distribution in space. Almost from the beginning of radio astronomy, it has been noted that there is an apparent excess of faint radio sources; that is, if it is assumed that the luminosity is related to the distance in the normal inverse square manner, the density of the sources increases with the distance. Since the radiation that is now being received from the more distant sources has been traveling for a longer time, the observations may be interpreted as indicating that the average density of the objects that emit radio radiation was greater in earlier eras. Such a conclusion, if valid, would be highly favorable to the evolutionary theories of cosmology, and the available evidence has been closely scrutinized for this reason.

As matters now stand, the majority opinion is that the issue has been settled in favor of the contention that the density of these radio sources is less now than at the time the radiation left the distant sources; that is, the density is decreasing with time. However, this conclusion is based on the assumption that the distribution of the radiation is three-dimensional, and it is invalidated by our finding that the radiation from the quasars is distributed two-dimensionally. On the basis of this new finding, the excess of faint sources merely means that some of the sources are quasars, which we already know without the benefit of the radio source counts.

Because of the much more rapid decrease in visibility on the three-dimensional basis as compared to the two-dimensional distribution, the theoretical development indicates that the observable sources of radiation beyond a certain limiting magnitude should all be objects radiating in two dimensions; that is, quasars. This theoretical conclusion is confirmed by a study by Bohuski and Weedmain which found that the curve representing the relation of the number of distant radio sources to the magnitude has a slope of 0.4, corresponding to a two-dimensional distribution, rather than the 0.6 slope that would result from a distribution in three dimensions. As expressed by the investigators, “virtually all stellar objects at high galactic latitude with magnitude of 23 or above are quasars.”241 Some further observational information supporting the theoretical two-dimensional distribution of the quasars will be presented in the chapters that follow, especially Chapter 25.

The idea of a two-dimensional distribution of radiation is not as unprecedented as it may seem. It has been recognized that there are aspects of the quasar and pulsar radiation that are indicative of a distribution in less than three dimensions. Current theory of the pulsars is expressed in terms of “beams.” For instance, A. Hewish, in a review article on pulsars, refers to ’ beaming in two coordinates,“242, which is merely one way of describing a two-dimensional distribution. The essential difference between the conventional view and the explanation derived from the theory of the universe of motion is that the astronomical hypotheses depend on the existence of special mechanisms of a highly speculative nature, whereas the deductive derivation of the properties of the universe of motion leads to a two-dimensional distribution of all radiation originating from objects moving at upper range speeds.

The discussion in this chapter can appropriately be closed with some reflections on a comment by Gerrit Verschuur that reads as follows:

At present there are many areas of astronomy (big bang theory, quasars, black holes) in which conventional physics seems to fail, and seeking understanding of these strange phenomena may yet lead to a revolution in thought.243

The perplexity with which the astronomers view the facts that they have accumulated about the properties of the quasars is well illustrated by this comment which classifies these observed, but not understood, objects with two hypothetical entities, the Big Bang and the black hole, that are not only “strange,” but wholly non-existent. Verschuur’s suggestion that arriving at a better understanding of the quasar phenomena might require a change in physical thinking has now been verified, but in the reverse sequence. As the contents of this chapter show, it is the revolution in physical thought resulting from the development of the theory of the universe of motion that has enabled understanding of the quasar phenomena. The chapters that follow will extend this understanding into more detail.