Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

Galaxy-quasar associations

QSO ejection
Schematic of quasars (QSOs) being ejected in pairs from an active galaxy

The observational evidence1 that the late Halton Arp and others have accumulated, documented and described  provides a starkly different story about the location and distribution of galaxies and quasi-galactic objects (including quasars) in the universe from that which is promoted by big-bang cosmologists and the popular press.

Instead of the notion that all matter originated in the initial big bang Arp promoted the idea that new matter formed in a series of little bangs with quasars (or QSOs = quasi-stellar objects) being ejected from the hearts of active galaxies, which in turn eject more quasars which eventually evolve into galaxies over millions of years of cosmic time.

This is radically different to the alleged big bang story, which has embryonic galaxies forming soon after the big bang and, by accumulation of mass through mergers. Galaxies grow, but always from matter initially created in the big bang. And quasars are assumed to be supermassive black holes with the mass of a galaxy, that are the early progenitors of the mature galaxies we see around us today.

Soon after their discovery, quasars were assumed to located at great distances because of their high redshifts. They are the highest redshift objects in the sky and  if you apply the Hubble Law then they are at the greatest distances. This is the main point of contention. The big bang community say that their redshifts are cosmological, due to the expansion of the universe. The alternative cosmology community, who all reject the big bang, but many like Arp, who believed in a static or quasi-static universe, do not believe their  redshifts are distance indicators, but something intrinsic to the quasar, a property not yet understood. And within that community there is doubt as to the origin of the Hubble Law itself.

In 1966 Arp suggested that high-redshift quasars were ejected from nearby low redshift galaxies and that their redshifts were somehow intrinsic.2 Since then there has been debate as to their association with much lower redshift galaxies, and despite the arguments against the idea today the debate is not yet settled. Some studies have claimed that they find no galaxy-quasar associations in some large galaxy and quasar surveys. Fulton and Arp (2012) showed that there is in fact an enormously high statistical correlation of their association when the model is properly treated and the redshift of potential host galaxies are considered.3

Arp’s noted the patterns of quasars that seemed to be paired around active galaxies and with similar redshifts. Something like that is shown in the picture above. They seemed to be aligned, in opposite directions, within about 20 degrees of the minor axis  of what they called ‘parent’ galaxies,.

Burbidge and  Burbidge (1967) first pointed out the existence of a preferred redshift of z = 1.956 for bright quasars.4 Shortly thereafter Karlsson (1971) showed that bright quasars occurred at certain discrete values5 and that the observed redshifts preferentially occur in a geometrical series…the Karlsson series, with redshifts z = 0.060, 0.302, 0.598, 0.963, 1.410, 1.960, etc. This added weight to the idea that the redshifts are intrinsic. This fact was important in the Fulton and Arp (2012) study.

Arp described a process that he saw repeated throughout the cosmos. Quasars are ejected in opposite directions from parent galaxies and over time their intrinsic redshifts change in downward discrete steps. This is a process where galaxies are born from the dense hearts of other active galaxies.  He sees the aging of the ejected quasars into these new galaxies. See illustration below.

Arp’s model of quasars being ejected from a parent galaxy and changing over time.

The process is for multiple births of galaxies in hierarchical structures, spatially and temporally; something like a fireworks display where many explosions eject small glowing centres that then explode to liberate more glowing centres.6 On top of this, due to the forces of gravity, these galaxies form whirlpools in space, some in spirals some highly distorted and peculiar. The galaxies then form into clusters and then clusters into superclusters. This is a totally different picture to the standard big bang theory.

Arp’s evidence for galaxy formation by ejection of quasars from the centres of active galactic nuclei is extremely compelling.  Putting this into a biblical perspective, Arp’s photographs of peculiar galaxies may well be revealing direct visual evidence of the creative hand of God during Day 4 of Creation week, when scripture tells us “…he made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16).  In fact, his astronomical observations may well be the most significant for creationist cosmology since Galileo.


  1. Arp, H. Seeing red, redshifts, cosmology and academic science, Apeiron, Montreal, 1998; Arp, H. Quasars, redshifts and controversies, Interstellar Media, Cambridge University Press, Berkeley, California, 1987; Arp, H. Companion galaxies: a test of the assumption that velocities can be inferred from redshift, Ap J 430:74–82, 1994; Arp, H. The distribution of high-redshift (z>2) quasars near active galaxies, Ap J 525:594–602, 1999; Arp, H. Catalogue of discordant Redshift Associations, Aperion, Montreal, 2003.
  2. H.C. Arp, Peculiar Galaxies and Radio Sources, Science 151(3715):1214-1216, 1966
  3. C.C. Fulton and H.C. Arp, The 2dF redshift survey. I. Physical association and periodicity in quasar families, Ap J 754:134-143, 2012.
  4. G. Burbidge and E.M. Burbidge, Limits to the Distance of the Quasi-Stellar Objects Deduced from Their Absorption Line Spectra, ApJ 148: 107, 1967
  5. K.G. Karlsson, Possible Discretization of Quasar Redshifts, A&A 13: 333, 1971
  6. F. Hoyle, G. Burbidge, and J.V. Narlikar, A different approach to cosmology: from a static universe through the big bang towards reality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000.

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By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.