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III. History of the Discovery of Compact Galaxies

Almost from the beginning of my theoretical investigations, 40 years ago, into that their maximum masses were at least equal to those of dwarf galaxies, that is the existence of dense cosmic bodies, I was aware of the fact that such objects existed, equal to 106 Modot or greater and whose surface brightness satisfies the condition (13). As mentioned above, the nucleus of M31 is obviously one of those objects. M. L. Humason first in 1940 showed it to be an almost stellar object, elliptical in shape and with apparent diameters of about 2. 5 and 1. 5 seconds of arc. Assigning it a total apparent photographic magnitude mp = 12.8, its surface brightness becomes sigma = 14.5/arcsec2 << sigmacrit = 20.0/arcsec2. Compared with the overall appearance of ordinary galaxies it is thus a very compact object indeed.

In addition to the conclusions arrived at from theory alone, the existence of compact nuclei and cores in some of the regular galaxies (38) provided additional assurance that isolated compact galaxies, which are not surrounded by any "suburban" formations such as halos and spiral arms, must also exist. Indeed,

First. The theoretical principles described in the preceding in themselves convince us that, up to the limit of the mass densities in the various objects HADES, aggregates of ever increasing compactness must be formed, either slowly or implosively. Also, on the way to OmegaH there will always occur a series of pseudostable stationary formations (7).

Second. The existence of compact nuclei in M31 and M32, with masses of the order of 107 Modot strikingly supports the conclusion of the theory that, either by slow accretion or fast implosion, aggregates are being formed in aging ordinary galaxies that are far more compact and luminous (per unit volume) than these galaxies themselves.

Third. From the theoretical principles mentioned and the observations on compact nuclei of stellar systems it follows that, under certain circumstances these no doubt can "swallow up" the surrounding "suburban" populations and thus become stellar-like objects of high surface brightness. On the other hand, isolated compact objects will result from the head-on collision of two extended galaxies which contain compact nuclei or cores. In such a collision the "suburban" formations will essentially be stopped or widely dispersed into intergalactic space, while the cores, because of their high surface loading and inner cohesion will continue their flight and end up as isolated compact galaxies in cosmic space, stripped of all their retinue.

Humason-Zwicky star No. 46

From the considerations presented in the preceding and, after having discovered the predicted irregular dwarf galaxies and dispersed intergalactic matter, I set out to search for the compact objects whose formation must have given rise to the existence of the many aggregates of dispersed matter in cosmic space. As chance would have it, the first quasistellar-like body, with an indicative absolute luminosity equal to that of a bright galaxy was found accidentally as I was surveying the north polar galactic cap for faint blue stars in a search for white dwarfs, pygmy stars and distant blue normal stars. In fact, the object now known as HZ 46, on films obtained with the 18-inch Palomar Schmidt telescope in 1938 appeared to me as a star and was listed as such (39, 40). Humason, during the following years obtained spectra of all of the 48 HZ stars that I had discovered. To our surprise HZ 46 showed a strong blue continuum with emission lines superposed, from whose redshifted position a symbolic velocity of recession of 13,418 km/sec was derived. Since mp = 14.8, it follows that the indicative absolute magnitude of HZ 46 is equal to Mp = - 20.8, making it a supergiant galaxy with a very compact core and two curved wings extending to opposite sides of it. G. Haro and W. J. Luyten vastly extended the original search for faint blue stars in high galactic latitudes, using in particular the 48-inch Palomar Schmidt telescope (see for instance Boletin de los Observatorios Tonantzintla y Tacubaya 3, 37, 1962). Again it was found later on that many of the objects which appeared stellar on the 48-inch Schmidt plates (especially on the three-image plates on which the limiting magnitude was lowered by one to two units) are actually compact galaxies as I strongly emphasized at the First Conference on Faint Blue Stars (40) at Strasbourg in August 1964 and again, a month later at the Galilei 400th anniversary convention In Padua (41). At the 1964 Assembly of the IAU at Hamburg I had presented my first list of 210 compact and eruptive galaxies. The first blue "star" of the Haro-Luyten collection to be identified (41) with one of the extragalactic objects on List I was BL2012 = I Zw 26 located at R.A. 11h22.7m and Decl. +54°40' (1950). At my suggestion, Dr. J. Berger in Paris, who previously had been working with me in Pasadena on the spectra of faint blue stars, and my wife, in 1964 systematically searched for coincidences of objects in the blue star lists of Haro, Luyten and others with known compact galaxies and quasistellar radio sources. The most striking find, by Berger, was that the "Tonantzintla" object PHL 2871 proved to be identical with the quasistellar radio source 3C9 which had the greatest redshift known at that time (z = Delta lambda / lambda = 2.01).

In spite of all of these facts being known to him in 1964, A. Sandage of the Mt. Wilson Observatory in May of 1965 attempted one of the most astounding feats of plagiarism by announcing (42) the "Existence of a Major New Constituent of the Universe: The Quasistellar Galaxies." Equally revealing, for the perennial tie-up of all hierarchies with hordes of sycophants was the fact that the Editors of the Astrophysical Journal published the above mentioned paper by Sandage on May 15, 1965, admittedly on the very same day that they had received it. This was done in glaring violation of the rule that all manuscripts submitted must be reviewed by competent experts before being published. Mr. Sandage's paper certainly would have been rejected by any professional in the field, because the new types of objects that he claimed to have discovered, among them for instance "Tonantzintla"256 at R.A. 22h22.8m and Decl. -16°54', epoch 1950.0, Ton. 730, and others clearly belonged to the class of compact galaxies (43, 44), both as to their structures and their spectra.

Also, it had long before Mr. Sandage been stressed by the author (39, 40), that many of the objects included in the surveys for faint blue stars by Zwicky, Luyten, Haro and others would be found to be extragalactic systems of stellar appearance. Sandage's earthshaking discovery consisted In nothing more than renaming compact galaxies, calling them "interlopers" and quasistellar galaxies, thus playing the interloper himself (42).

Again, disregarding all previous statistical studies made on the distribution of faint blue stars and stellar objects in breadth and depth of space (40, 43) Sandage advanced his own analysis (42), drawing from it some of the most wonderful and fearful conclusions about the large scale structure and the evolution of the universe that were completely erroneous. Among these perhaps the most ridiculous is that "he gave the first determination of the rate of change of the expansion of the universe" as entered by Sandage himself, for the benefit of the general public, in his column in Who's Who in the World of Science (Marquis Inc. 1968).

In sharp contrast to their ready and uncritical acceptance of all sorts of childish phantasies and stolen Ideas, the Editors of the Astrophysical Journal exhibited an almost unbelievable lack of tolerance and good judgement by rejecting my first comprehensive and observationally well documented article on compact galaxies (see insert facsimili letter of the editor of the Ap. J.). My original articles, except for a short note of the meeting of the American Astronomical Society, 1963 in Tuscon, forcibly had to be first published in French (46), Polish (47), German (48) and Russian (49) journals (in Russian). A considerable number of the basic findings on compact galaxies were already mentioned in these first short papers, as will be discussed further on.


Assembling the objects for the present Catalogue

So far the author has been engaged in two undertakings, namely, first to assemble compact galaxies, galaxies with compact parts, eruptive and post-eruptive galaxies casually, while working on the extended six volume catalogue of galaxies and clusters of galaxies (CAT) by Zwicky (24) et al. This casual work was done essentially in the period from 1960 to 1968. As a result about 2300 objects were gathered in seven lists (50) and distributed among astronomers interested in observing them. It must be strongly emphasized that these compact galaxies were chosen at random, as the writer noticed them while working on the 10,000 clusters of galaxies contained in the CAT. They do not therefore represent suitable material for an overall comprehensive statistics concerning their distribution in cosmic space.

Second, in order to make possible a statistical study of those compact galaxies that can be readily distinguished from stars on limiting plates taken with the 48-inch Palomar Schmidt telescope I have started a complete survey of these objects in twelve fields covering about 450 square degrees from R.A. 12h00m to 13h20m and Decl. -3° to -21°. From my preliminary results it appears that about 5,000 compact galaxies, galaxies with outstanding compact parts and post-eruptive galaxies will thus be located, that is about ten per square degree. A thorough survey of all of the unobscured areas of the sky should therefore produce between 200,000 and 300,000 objects of the type that have been included in the present catalogue. If more refined methods are used, for instance a search with large Schmidt telescopes equipped with full size objective transparent gratings, millions of compact galaxies will no doubt be located that cannot now be distinguished from stars on ordinary direct photographic plates.

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