Quasar Spectra: Black Holes or Nonstandard Models?
Keywords: quasar spectra, black holes, dark matter, merger phenomena, redshift, galaxies, gravitational
The \"Big Bang\" model has ascended to a powerful position in modern cosmology over the past few decades. This position has become so strong that investigation of alternate ideas has almost ceased. Observational counter-evidence certainly exists (for reviews see e.g. Arp 1987; Sulentic 1987; Tifft 1987). The general belief is that this counter-evidence consists of misinterpreted data and false clues. One could easily get the impression that all of the observations fit easily into the accepted model. In fact, at least three new concepts have assumed great importance in preserving the Big Bang against observational and theoretical challenges. In temporal order of acclamation they are: 1) black holes; 2) merger phenomena and 3) dark matter. Gravitational accretiion onto supermassive black holes was required as soon as it became generally accepted that the quasar redshifts were cosmological (i.e. proportional to their distance). It provides a mechanism for producing the enormous energies implied by the assumption that quasars are at their redshift distances. Mergers came upon the scene in order to account for nearby peculiar galaxies and for the increasing luminosity and size of many objects at higher redshift. Dark matter helps to bind the groups and clusters of galaxies as well as to explain the flat rotation curves in spirals. In reality, it can help to fit almost any observation into the conventional picture. What is the observational evidence for the above three phenomena?