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Four Quasars Found Clustered Together Defy Current Cosmological Expectations 62

StartsWithABang writes: Get a supermassive black hole feeding on matter, particularly on large amounts of cool, dense gas, and you're likely to get a quasar: a luminous, active galaxy emitting radiation from the radio all the way up through the X-ray. Our best understanding and observations indicate that these objects should be rare, transient, and isolated; no more than two have ever been found close together before. Until this discovery, that is, where we just found four within a million light years of one another, posing a problem for our current theories of structure formation in the Universe.
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Four Quasars Found Clustered Together Defy Current Cosmological Expectations

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  • Not to worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @06:45PM (#49722613)

    This is just he exception that proves the rule.

    It's when you find TWO exceptions, that you should start to worry about the rule itself...

    • They found FOUR, what does that tell you?

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        They rolled snake eyes twice in a row.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You say "four", referring to quasars - when the subject was 'exceptions' - that is, more than two quasars. They didn't find four exceptions, they found one exception consisting of twice the currently recorded number in any given observation of a given size.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        That the universe is large and diverse enough that statistically improbable happenstances like this can (and do) still happen.
        And we've been lucky enough to live during a time when we can actually observe such a phenomenon.

      • It tells me that people who follow science today -- professional scientists included -- try so hard to ignore scientific controversies that they basically undermine the entire scientific endeavor. What stands out with this "surprise" is that it has been less than two years since Halton Arp's death -- the man whose American telescope time was revoked because he claimed to see quasars ejecting in both directions from active galaxies. I have to imagine that this is not even a malicious omission. It's sincer
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ah you see, English, it's a bitch. Since in this case, 'prove' means 'tests'. The term is also used in 'proving grounds' for cars or other machinery. If the exception really is an exception, then it is proven that the rule ain't no rule at all.

    • Here's how an exception proving (testing) the rule works:

      A swimming pool has a notice on the diving board that reads "Not for use by children under 8."
      Anyone can therefore use the diving board with the exception of under-8s.

      Along comes one such exception in the form of a 7 year-old kid. Lifeguard sees him and says "stay off the board, son!"

      Rule proven.

      Now just extend that to quasars and you're on a winner.

  • Hey don't be biased (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @06:58PM (#49722657)

    They're just in a new intergalactic living arrangement is all.

  • Lensing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laughingskeptic ( 1004414 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @07:09PM (#49722715)
    The original paper http://arxiv.org/pdf/1505.0378... [arxiv.org] mentions the red-shift and spectral similarities of 3 of the observed quasars without mentioning the possibility that they may be the result of gravitational lensing by the fourth object and could possibly be millions of light years behind the 4th object.
  • Maybe multiple gravitational lensing is somehow confusing things. That or the universe took fertility pills and had quadruplets.
  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @07:15PM (#49722759) Homepage Journal
    We've got Physics to break!
  • This is the second article today. Typically authors of blogs and news stories get one exposure on slashdot per million years. It's quite rare for even two exposures. Imagine how the Slashdotter community would be rocked if four Ethan articles were posted within a single day!
  • Why couldn't they have formed further apart and floated or were pulled in closer? Also, a million light years seems pretty far to me...
  • but fuck yeah its aliens!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "My answer in answering the question: "What does the red spectrum tell us about quasars? There are various words that need to be defined: what is a spectrum, what is a red one, why is it red, and why is it so frequently linked with quasars?......

    ....Holly.....What the hell is a quasar?"

  • 100% of galaxies have supermassive black holes near them. Quasars form based on mass and age. Galaxies near each other should be around the same age. I don't see the problem here. So four galaxies around the same age had nearly the same mass by sheer random probability and they all turned into quasars at the same time because they're all the same age formation-wise.
    "We looked at 1% of the universe and didn't see something like this so it must be impossible" is not valid science. That's right up there
  • Someone obviously didn't read the sign.

New systems generate new problems.