Peculiar Adventures

Celebrating the Intellectual Courage of Halton Arp

In a sense, the way we do science is more important than the exact results at any given moment. ...The most important thing for us to recall may be, that the crucial quality of science is to encourage, not discourage, the testing of assumptions. - Quasars, Redshifts & Controversies (1987)

I believe the observational evidence has become overwhelming, and the Big Bang has in reality been toppled. There is now a need to communicate the new observations, the connection between objects and the new insights into the workings of the universe--all the primary obligations of academic science, which has generally tried to suppress or ignore such dissident information....

At this point, I believe we must look for salvation from the non-specialists, amateurs and interdisciplinary thinkers--those who form judgements on the general thrust of the evidence, those who are skeptical about any explanations, particularly official ones, and above all are tolerant of other people's theories. - Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (1998)

(Left to Right) Chip Arp, Toney Burkhart & John Dobson

Halton "Chip" Arp has become a legend and folk hero among amateur astronomers. He is best known for his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, the compilation of which led him to question the most basic assumptions of modern astrophysics. For three decades he has been assembling observational evidence that points to the association of high redshift quasars with nearby low redshift galaxies. If the two are actually associated, then redshift cannot always be correlated to distance and the Big Bang is in big trouble.

His early work made Arp one of the leading young astronomers of his generation. During 29 years on the staff at Mt. Palomar, he became a master of photographic techniques and a connoisseur of cosmic peculiarities. In about 1983 he received an unsigned letter from the telescope allocation committee at Mt. Palomar denying him any further telescope time for his unorthodox projects. After all appeals failed, he took early retirement and moved to Germany, where he has recently been expanding his research into X-ray astronomy. His continuing efforts have won the support of a handful of other professionals, but have been largely ignored (or derided) by the mainstream.

Arp's cosmological views have come a long way in the last decade. His cosmos is a steady-state universe, with no Big Bang and no expansion, and with the intermittent creation of new matter. Redshift is not velocity related but an inherent property of matter that decreases with age. The basic cosmological unit is composed of an old parent galaxy of low redshift, accompanied by smaller and younger companions with redshift excesses, and surrounded by newly-created quasars of high redshift. Both companions and quasars have been ejected by the parent galaxy, much like the knots in the jets which are often also observed.

Cosmology & Controversy

A review of Halton Arp's latest book from a professional journal, together with a rebuttal by Geoffrey Burbidge.

Where's the Bridge?

A brief review of some of the evidence for non-cosmological redshifts, featuring quasars and bright galaxies observable in amateur telescopes, and including the most famous galaxy/quasar pair, NGC4319/MK205 in Draco.

Classifying Peculiar Galaxies

Ever wondered what the Arp numbers mean? Check out the classification scheme for Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. It makes observing an Arp galaxy more fun if you know how and why Arp thought it was peculiar.

An Arp Sampler

The classification scheme illustrated by enhanced RealSky images and observing notes for 32 of the most interesting Arp galaxies and galaxy groups, arranged by Arp number.

Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies

Dennis Webb's Arp Pages