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Arp's theories

  1. Nov 16, 2008 #1
    What about the Arp' s theories? I' ve seen the photos of the Stephan's quintet. What about them? Seems that the quasars are near other objects that look to be nearer to us than the quasars.
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  3. Nov 16, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    What about them? They are generally considered fringe. There is a huge body of evidence against his ideas that have been gathered in the last few decades.
  4. Nov 16, 2008 #3
    Wich are these evidence against his ideas gathered in the last few years?
  5. Nov 16, 2008 #4

    Jonathan Scott

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    I see three levels to Halton Arp's work on anomalous red-shifts:

    1. Are his observations and interpretations correct (for example about galaxies and quasars with different red-shifts being connected)?

    I find many of them very interesting and plausible, and his weird suggestion that quasars are apparently ejected in pairs from galaxies does seem to be supported by his evidence. I feel this looks as if it could be a real anomaly which requires a physical explanation, despite the fact that at first glance it seems incompatible with current physical theory.

    2. Is he correct that there is some physical effect which increases red-shifts not only for very large masses but also apparently over a whole region near to those masses?

    I'm inclined to agree that some additional non-cosmological red-shift could explain many anomalies, but it's difficult to envisage a mechanism that could lead to a gravitational red-shift apparently affecting a region the size of a galaxy; this is certainly not possible with standard GR, but then neither are the observed galactic rotation curves without assuming something else such as dark matter or MOND. (I've been wondering whether there's some mechanism by which the large-scale redshift could be an illusion, for example if a quasar or galactic nucleus could be "lighting up" its environment in some way which caused red-shifted spectral features to be re-emitted by the surrounding material, or even if the instruments for measuring red-shift don't focus accurately enough to be able to measure the red-shift of light which is too close to a bright central point with a different red-shift).

    3. What about his theory to explain these results through "continuous mass creation" processes, and the idea that "new matter" behaves differently from "old matter"?

    As far as I'm concerned, I don't find this even the slightest bit plausible, although his logical line of reasoning which led to this conclusion is quite interesting and could eventually be a useful part of the puzzle of how gravity works on a galactic scale and above.

    If we were confident about gravity theory and General Relativity in particular as providing a complete explanation to the dynamics of systems on the scale of galaxies and above, then I think that it might be possible to dismiss Arp's observations as coincidences. However, at the moment GR at that scale is not working well, requiring dark matter or something like MOND at the galactic scale to fix it and dark energy at the cosmological scale, so I think it reasonable to include Arp's observations as something which might be valid and require a physical explanation, like galactic rotation curves.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  6. Nov 16, 2008 #5


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    Sorry, but this is not the way to have a valid discussion.

    Firstly, you should look at the PF rules which state that non peer-reviewed work, or fringe theories, are not to be discussed here.

    But, secondly, you should mention what the theories actually are that you are wishing to discuss. You should provide peer-reivewed, published articles to support them. Only then, can the discussion continue.
  7. Nov 16, 2008 #6


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    The fact hardly anyone has paid any attention to Arp's ideas over the past few years should be taken into consideration
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  8. Dec 1, 2008 #7
    Well, to my opinion, a sound debunking of Arp is in order. He is something of a celebrity among the big bang deniers mostly for his victimized role where he is systematically prevented from publishing anything, or so they claim.

    To some point I actually agree with them:To an outsider it would sometimes seem that peer review is a tool to weed out anything that does not comply with the "religion of mainstream science" instead of just weeding out nonsense like it is supposed to. It doesn't get better when we meager nano-Engineering scientists, with incomplete knowledge of cosmology can't quite put our finger on the point where the argument fails :)

    Perhaps this was something for the debunking forum?
  9. Dec 2, 2008 #8
    There is only so much debunking the "mainstreamers" should have to do with regards to ideas from people like Arp. After this initial debunking, the onus is on the "meager nano-Engineering scientist" to go get thee to the library (or an online archive). It is not the job of mainstream science to hold the hand of the less well inormed, otherwise we'd never get any work done!
  10. Dec 2, 2008 #9


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    To put things in some kind of perspective: Halton Arp is perhaps the greatest living observational astronomer. He helped extend Edwin Hubble's redshift-distance relationship with his studies of galaxy morphology. He was ostracised by Cal-Tech/Carnegie not because of his "theories", but because of his observations. Observations that showed that celestial bodies of (sometimes vastly) different redshifts appeared to be in gravitational interaction with one another, sometime with additional photographic support in the form of anomalous star-formation or tidal features.

    After Arp was cut off from his observing time at this institution, he collaborated with the Burbidges (husband and wife), Narlikar, Sulentic, and others. It was during this period that theories arose attempting to explain why apparently-interacting astronomical might have different redshifts. Such theories are speculative, since we have no way (presently) to test them.

    Remember, Arp lost his time on the big telescopes because he was making observations that challenged theories. Astronomy is an observational science - it is the only avenue that we have. When a researcher loses status and position because his observations cannot easily be accommodated in current theory, something is VERY wrong.
  11. Dec 2, 2008 #10
    I do not completely disagree with you - I myself often refer people to the library when asked the really basic stuff. But I think I'll better clarify my position

    There are whispers in the corners; a growing number of the less informed seem to have lost faith in the objectivity and integrity of science - just take a tour on youtube and you'll see what I mean - epescially when confronted with "that's not peer reviewed and as such we won't touch it with a fire poker"-standard reply. It does leave people with the impression that questions are forbidden and obedience demanded. This is a PR-problem which we cannot continue to ignore.

    Therefore, it is strange to me why a site like physics forums take this approach, when the doubters come to seek knowledge - hence my reply to cristo. Now, of course PF must not and shall not be a portal for any manner of crackpotism, but when people ask questions as a result of conflicting opinions out there, I do not think it a very wise move to simply reject the question with the "not peer rewieved"-arguement
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  12. Dec 2, 2008 #11
    Well said.

    No doubt that Arp's discretization is justified; there is, after all, other evidence that point to an expanding universe, and his continued denial would be his own failing - but that is the knife's edge balance you'll be performing as an experimental scientist; You have to stand firm on the evidence whilst being pragmatic enough about it to not piss off the theoreticians :)
  13. Dec 2, 2008 #12


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    It is not the job of us on an internet forum to be debunking work, or even to be arguing over what is or isn't correct: this is the job of the peer review system. That is where work get judged by professionals who have a detailed understanding of the technicalities of the work and not just as an interested lay-person. We are not here to judge what is or isn't crackpottery, and what does or doesn't have any value as a theory; again, this is what the peer-review system is for. Thus, the only way we can ensure that we are discussing science is to ensure that all discussions are limited to published, peer-reviewed articles, as stated in the physics forums global guidelines. Here is a quote:

    As for the case in hand, since no-one has made any effort to cite a published, peer-reviewed article on which to base a discussion, it's time to lock this thread.
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