Francis Filament: a large scale structure that is big, big, big bang trouble.

With the development of better and better large optical telescopes there is one big bang problem that is not so often talked about. It is one we call an horizon problem. Not the infamous horizon problem for infrared photons allegedly redshifted down to the 3-degree-above-absolute-zero temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, but an horizon problem for structure formation in the big bang universe.

As telescopes push the limits and detect more objects at higher and higher redshift they also detect what are claimed to be larger and larger structures. These structures (clusters and long filaments of galaxies) are believed to have formed very quickly after the big bang.

Various structures have been found–one, the Francis Filament of 37 galaxies at redshift z = 2.38, is discussed in the article below. However, since that was published there have been more such discoveries that are allegedly even larger than the Francis Filament: the Huge-LQG (73 quasars) though at a lower redshift (z = 1.27) and hence allegedly seen a billion years later; and another so big it allegedly would take light 10 billion years to traverse it.

The question then arises: How did the matter move across such large distances in the very short cosmological time available after the alleged big bang fireball cooled? Expansion of space is not the answer. But this presents a particle horizon problem for the big bang theorists. The best answer that can be provided is cosmic variance: because we sample too small a region of space, at these enormous distances, there are other galaxies not yet seen and the structures that are apparently seen are just part of the random distribution of galaxies in the wider picture, which cannot be seen as yet. And thus it is alleged that the structures being viewed are not a contiguous structure. But this is an appeal to the unobserved and the belief system that the big bang story is correct. It is used to fill in where the observations fail.

The following is slightly edited from an article more than ten years old now but it illustrates the problem. My original article first appeared as “Francis Filament: a large scale structure that is big, big, big bang trouble. Is it really so large?” in the Journal of Creation 18(1):16-17, 2004.

Image 1: Caption from NASA web article. This is a computer artist’s illustration of a giant but remote galaxy string discovered recently. The fuzzy, bright areas in the cube in Images 1 and 2, represent galaxies discovered about 10.8 billion light-years away in the direction of the southern constellation Grus (the Crane). [Big bang] astronomers believe these galaxies are members of a much larger structure at least 300 million light-years long and 50 million light-years wide. Since light took 10.8 billion years to traverse the distance between the galaxy structure and Earth, we see the structure as it appeared when the Universe was young, just a fifth of its current age. This new structure defies current models of how the Universe evolved, which can’t explain how a structure this big could have formed so early. (emphasis added)

‘From a galaxy far, far away comes a stunning new discovery’ so begins the article of science reporter Rosslyn Beeby of the Canberra Times (Australia), Thursday, 8 January 2004. The article continues with some sensational claims:

Existing theories about the formation of the universe have been challenged by a sensational new discovery—the existence of an enormous string of galaxies 300 million light-years long and 10,800 million light-years from Earth.

ANU astronomer Dr Paul Francis led an international research team which discovered the galaxies … Their discovery defies accepted theories of how the universe evolved. Current theories cannot explain how such an enormous galaxy string could have formed at such an early stage in the evolution of the universe.

Scientists claim the universe was formed during the Big Bang—a cosmic explosion that hurled matter in all directions—about 13.7 billion years ago.

“There simply hasn’t been enough time since the Big Bang to form structures this colossal,” Dr Francis said. “In three billion years matter should be able to move 10 million light years at most—you can’t make something that’s 300 million light years long in the time that’s given … It’s impossible.”

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Quasars exhibit no time dilation and still defy a big bang explanation

In April 2010, Marcus Chown wrote in an article entitled “Time waits for no quasar—even though it shouldfor New Scientist online,

“Why do distant galaxies seem to age at the same rate as those closer to us when big bang theory predicts that time should appear to slow down at greater distances from Earth? No one can yet answer this new question [emphasis added] … .”

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Figure 1: An artist’s depiction of what a quasar is believed to be — a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy.

He says no one can answer this question. But this question has already been answered before it was even asked. To understand this we need some background.

Quasars are assumed to be supermassive black holes with the mass of a galaxy2 that are the early progenitors of the mature galaxies we see around us today. See Fig. 1. They nearly all exhibit extremely large redshifts in their emitted light and the big bang community believes that these redshifts are nearly entirely due to cosmological expansion. Therefore it follows that these massive objects are extremely bright and are being observed at some stage only several billion years after the alleged origin of the Universe in the big bang. Hence, from their redshifts when interpreted as resulting from cosmological expansion of the Universe, using Einstein’s general theory of relativity, it follows that the greater the redshift the greater the effect of the distortion of time at the quasar. That is, local clocks on quasars at greater redshifts should run slower than local clocks on quasars at lower redshifts, which are interpreted to mean that they are closer to us. (This post is based on my original article “Quasars again defy a big bang explanation” published in the Journal of Creation 24(2):8-9, 2010.)

No time dilation

But that is where the problem comes in. Mike Hawkins of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, UK, looked at light from quasars and he found no time dilation. He used observations of nearly 900 quasars made over periods of up to 28 years. According to the article, he “compared patterns in the light between quasars about 6 billion light years from us with those at 10 billion light years away.” But the distances assigned here are actually derived from the assumed cosmology and the Hubble law. What was really measured was the redshifts of those quasars. However the problem arises because quasars scintillate or their brightness varies. This scintillation can have periods of as little as a week, or even a day. That tells us something about the size of the object at the core, since that time should be of the scale of the light-travel time across the light-emitting region.2

Chown writes,

“All quasars are broadly similar, and their light is powered by matter heating up as it swirls into the giant black holes at the galaxies’ cores. So one would expect that a brightness variation on the scale of, say, a month in the closer group would be stretched to two months in the more distant group.”

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The distances to quasars

Mark 205

Figure 1: False colour image of Markarian 205, a peculiar galaxy imaged in X-rays, shown with several quasars enveloped within its hydrogen gas envelope. Credit: H. Arp, “Seeing Red”, Apeiron.

What can we say about the distances of quasars? This is an important question. According to standard big bang cosmology, due to cosmological expansion of the Universe, the very high redshifts of quasars place them at very great distances. If however even one example could be shown that contradicts the standard “greater the redshift the greater the distance” rule then it would undermine the fundamental foundation of the Standard Model of big bang cosmology. It follows that most of the very high redshift objects in the cosmos may not be so distant. And that would radically change our interpretation of the alleged big bang universe.

One such example that contradicts the Standard Model is shown in Fig. 1. The late Halton Arp spent his 60-year research career looking at peculiar galaxies, which he believed contradicted the standard big bang assumptions. Markarian 205 is such a peculiar galaxy within which are seen three quasars. Markarian 205 has a redshift of z = 0.07 but the quasars z = 1.26, 0.63 and 0.46. According to the Standard Model the high redshift quasars should be many billions of light-years behind Markarian 205, but they are clearly seen enveloped in the X-ray emitting hydrogen gas around the galaxy (as indicated by the white arrows).

Lyman-α forest

Arp’s hypothesis, that quasars and active galactic nuclei (AGNs1) have a very large intrinsic component to their redshifts, which is unrelated to their cosmic distance from Earth, is strongly rejected by the Standard Model (big bang) community. In relation to this question I received the following from a reader of my website.2

It is claimed, that the many lines of the Lyman alpha forest in the spectrum of most quasars prove that they are very far away. Also, it is claimed that increasing Lyman alpha forest lines is connected with increased magnitude of redshift, so supporting large distances. Is that observational true?

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Changing-look quasars

— how do they fit into a biblical creationist model?

The quasar 3C 273, which resides in a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation of Virgo.

Figure 1a: The quasar 3C 273, which resides in a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation of Virgo. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Quasars are very high redshift astronomical objects with broad emission line (BEL) spectra. The latter is very different to that in the usual humdrum galaxies. This means the objects redshifts and BEL spectra can be used to identify them. And because of their high redshifts they are assumed to be very distant, very luminous active galaxies with super-massive black holes at their hearts, powering them to emit prodigious amounts of radiation over all wave-bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Figure 1b: Spectra of quasar 3C 273 compared to the star Vega. Spectral lines are shifted towards the red end of the spectrum, from which its distance is determined using the standard CDM cosmology.

Figure 1b: Spectra of quasar 3C 273 compared to the star Vega. Spectral lines are shifted towards the red end of the spectrum, from which its distance is determined using the standard LCDM cosmology.

Most of the high redshift objects in the universe are quasars. The redshifts of galaxies and quasars when interpreted within big bang cosmology—the greater the redshift the greater the distance—means that the most distant objects are seen at a time when the Universe was youngest.1

Following big bang thinking, quasars are then considered to be just galaxies in some early stage of development—back closer in time to the big bang—than the usual spiral and elliptical galaxies we might see with much lower redshifts. The quasar 3C 273, shown in Fig. 1a, the first to be identified (discovered in the early 1960s by astronomer Allan Sandage), has been shown to reside in a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation of Virgo. According to standard cosmology its redshift puts it at a distance of 2.5 billion light-years from Earth. Continue reading

Four high redshift quasars puzzle astronomers

A team of astronomers led by Joseph Hennawi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, using the W.M.  Keck observatory in Hawaii, have discovered the first quadruple quasar: four quasars with approximately the same redshift of about z ~ 2 and located on the sky in close proximity.  The online article1 from Max Planck Institute is titled “Quasar quartet puzzles scientists” with the subtitle “Astronomers must rethink models about the development of large-scale cosmic structures.” This is a discovery of the first known group of four quasars with the same redshift found in the same location on the sky. A research paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Science and a preprint is now available.2

The quartet resides in one of the most massive structures ever discovered in the distant universe, and is surrounded by a giant nebula of cool dense gas. Either the discovery is a one-in-ten-million coincidence, or cosmologists need to rethink their models of quasar evolution and the formation of the most massive cosmic structures.1

4 quasars zoom

Caption from original article: Rare find: This image depicts the region in space with the quadruple quasars. The four quasars are indicated by arrows. The quasars are embedded in a giant nebula of cool dense gas visible in the image as a blue haze. The nebula has an extent of one million light-years across, and these objects are so distant that their light has taken nearly 10 billion years to reach telescopes on Earth. This false color image is based on observations with the 10-m-Keck-telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Credit: Arrigoni-Battaia & Hennawi / MPIA  (Ref. 1)

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Quasar Redshifts Blast Big Bang

Part 3 of series “Redshifts and the Universe”.
Watch Part 1 and Part 2 first.

The work and hypothesis of Halton Arp is presented of evidence for a creation scenario where galaxies are created out of the hearts of active galaxies, beginning as quasars, which evolve over time to galaxies we see (the word ‘evolution’ used here means change, not addition of new information by random chance). He shows that for at least quasars there is evidence that indicates quasars are not at their supposed redshift distances according to the Hubble law. This then says one cannot trust the standard redshift interpretation upon which the big bang model depends.

Additional Resources

What do quasars tell us about the universe?

Modern large galaxy surveys  have been carried out over the past decade or more and with the use of robotic computer driven telescopes have been able to amass large samples of data on very large numbers of galaxies in the Universe. These surveys supply, via a website, data that anyone with a little knowledge can download and analyze for themselves and as a result test their own cosmology. Among that data, for example, are specifications on the type of object (galaxy, quasar etc), its position on the sky, its redshift, and its brightness (which is given in magnitude units).  (The following is a bit technical but very interesting nonetheless.) Continue reading