Quasars Revisited: Rapid Time Variations Observed Via Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry

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Science  16 Jul 1971:
Vol. 173, Issue 3993, pp. 225-230
DOI: 10.1126/science.173.3993.225


Recent Goldstone-Haystack radio interferometric observations of the quasars 3C 279 and 3C 273 reveal rapid variations in their fine structure. Most notably, the data for 3C 279, interpreted in terms of a symmetric double-source model and the accepted red-shift distance, indicate differential proper motion corresponding to an apparent speed about ten times that of light. A number of possible mechanisms that might give rise to such an apparent speed are considered; although several may be plausible, no definitive choice can be made on the basis of present evidence. More interferometric observations of quasars are clearly needed to clarify their structure and internal kinematics.