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Four random quasars in a straight line?

  1. May 15, 2015 #1

    jimgraber

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    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150315-quadruple-quasar-mystery-space-astronomy/


    National Geographic quoting Dr Hennawi, the lead author of the Science paper, says it is a ten million to one chance to find four quasars so close together. How much more unusual is it that in the first close four quasar configuration discovered they lie very closely on a straight line?? I think this is preposterously unlikely, but seeing is believing, as they say.
     
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  3. May 16, 2015 #2

    wabbit

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    http://arxiv.org/abs/1505.03786
    Quasar Quartet Embedded in Giant Nebula Reveals Rare Massive Structure in Distant Universe
    Joseph F. Hennawi, J. Xavier Prochaska, Sebastiano Cantalupo, Fabrizio Arrigoni-Battaia (Submitted on 14 May 2015)
     
  4. May 23, 2015 #3
    Notice all the irregular blobs deformed by the gravitational interaction between them and quasars which appears to have played a role in the formation of this relationship thus possibly reducing the chances as mentioned due to the dense cluster nebula, we would need to do more observations to find a possible pattern, this pattern should be more common in the early universe; a frontier in which we have only began studying.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  5. May 23, 2015 #4
    They may appear to be in a straight line from earth, but remember they are in a 3D space. They would not appear in a straight line from another vantage point. I would question any odds. And seeing ain't always believing in space. Or in a photoshopped picture. :smile:
     
  6. May 23, 2015 #5

    wabbit

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    The quasars are I believe located in 3D, at least presumptively from their redshift. And even for the distribution of objects on the 2D celestial sphere, the projected distribution can be modelled. I don't recall the figures, but if on average there are 0.001 visible quasars for a given solid angle, and you see four within such an area, there is something odd.

    That being said, I have no idea if their statistics are sound or not, it would be interesting to hear more about it.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  7. May 23, 2015 #6

    jimgraber

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    Possibly all four quasars are formed in the same monsterous accretion disk and so all lie naturally in a plane. Now all we require is that the plane is edge on to us, which has a probability of a few percent purely by chance. Still since this is so far as i know, the first and only case, it still appears to be somewhat unexpected.
     
  8. May 27, 2015 #7

    Chronos

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    This sounds like Arpian statistics to me. Assuming there are billions of quasars in the observable universe what are the odds 4 lay on the same line of sight. Not highly improbable IMO.
     
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