Varshni,Y.P.: 1984, Ottawa Center Newsletter Roy.Astron.Soc.Canada, April

Dr. Varshni of the University of Ottawa spoke to the center on Wednesday, March 21, about the subject of quasars. Dr.Varshni pointed to significant evidence which indicates that quasars are, in fact, nearby objects, quite faint, within our galaxy. They are too faint to be seen in external galaxies. The main phenomena which accounts for the spectral lines of quasars is a laser effect, which is producing radiation as a result of a rapidly-cooling plasma, such such as would be produced by a star during the production, say, of a planetary nebula. Depending on the constituent elements of the star, the temperature, the temperature of the plasma, the rate of expansion, and other effects, a large number of spectral lines may be produced. It is thus very easy to confuse these lines with red-shifted lines of other elements, such as the hydrogen line. Dr. Varshni showed examples of several quasar spectra, which actually showed several coincident lines, which were not red-shifted, but several coincident lines, which were not red-shifted, but corresponded to lines which may also be found in planetary nebulae. The broadening of spectral lines of quasars is due to the rapid expansion of the plasma which produces the laser effect, this expansion taking place in all directions. Also shown were measurements of the proper motions of quasars, which is much harder to explain if they were distant objects. It is suggested that the new space telescope be used to study the proper motions of quasars more closely, and this would resolve the issue. It was also noted that more search should be made for quasars along the galactic axis. If quasars really are distant, they should not be visible here, but this area has not been studied for quasars.

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