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Book by David Michalets

Distant Spectral Shifts

12 NED Distances

This is section 12 of 18.

The web page series for Distant Spectral Shifts is based on my book Cosmology Crisis Cleared.

NED identifies specific galaxy distance calculation methods: Tully-Fisher Relation, Faber-Jackson Relation

Both SDSS and Wikipedia offer an overview of photometric Redshifts. [Reference:

 Each of the NED functions has its detailed explanation below.

12.1 Tully-Fisher Relation

The Tully-Fisher Relation attempts to calculate a galaxy's distance based on several assumptions with luminosity.

The Tully–Fisher relation (TFR) is an empirical relationship between the mass or intrinsic luminosity of a spiral galaxy and its asymptotic rotation velocity or emission line width. It was first published in 1977 by astronomers R. Brent Tully and J. Richard Fisher. The luminosity is calculated by multiplying the galaxy's apparent brightness by 4?d2 is its distance from us, and the spectral-line width is measured using long-slit spectroscopy.
Several different forms of the TFR exist, depending on which precise measures of mass, luminosity or rotation velocity one takes it to relate. Tully and Fisher used optical luminosity, but subsequent work showed the relation to be tighter when defined using microwave to infrared (K band) radiation (a good proxy for stellar mass), and even tighter when luminosity is replaced by the galaxy's total baryonic mass (the sum of its mass in stars and gas). This latter form of the relation is known as the Baryonic Tully–Fisher relation (BTFR), and states that baryonic mass is proportional to velocity to the power of roughly 3.5–4.
The TFR can be used to estimate the distance to spiral galaxies by allowing the luminosity of a galaxy to be derived from its directly measurable line width. The distance can then be found by comparing the luminosity to the apparent brightness. Thus the TFR constitutes a rung of the cosmic distance ladder, where it is calibrated using more direct distance measurement techniques and used in turn to calibrate methods extending to larger distance.
In the dark matter paradigm, a galaxy's rotation velocity (and hence line width) is primarily determined by the mass of the dark matter halo in which it lives, making the TFR a manifestation of the connection between visible and dark matter mass. In Modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND), the BTFR (with power-law index exactly 4) is a direct consequence of the gravitational force law effective at low acceleration.
The analogues of the TFR for non-rotationally-supported galaxies, such as ellipticals, are known as the Faber–Jackson relation and the fundamental plane. [Reference::  ]

There is a fundamental wrong assumption here.

Stars in galaxies of any type are not moving by the force of gravity.
It is impossible for only the attractive force of gravity to explain stellar motion in spiral galaxies.

There is no justification for this assumption when there are only a few planets orbiting within a similar plane (some planets have slightly inclined orbits) around a much more massive single star. The Sun and planets move around the system's center of gravity in elliptical orbits. A galactic disk has billions of stars with clouds of gas and dust, within several arms. A spiral galaxy also has a bulge having many stars distributed within a sphere. The bulge is nothing like a single star to compare to the Sun and solar system. Our Sun is thought to move in a roughly circular orbit, but its orbit is considered disturbed by the millions of other stars also in the disk. Stars have a net positive charge which enables their motion to be driven by the Lorentz force from a spiral galaxy's magnetic field.  Spiral galaxies with their bulge and arms do not resemble the solar system.
Several of these galaxies, including our Milky Way, have a bar between the galactic core and the start of the arms. Our solar system has nothing like spiral arms.

Gravity must have a diminished, to negligible, role in a spiral galaxy.

The rotation of the M31 disk was explained by its magnetic field by astronomers in Spain, in 2010. No dark matter is needed when this cause explains the rotation. [Reference: ]

A study of spiral galaxy IC342 concluded its magnetic fields explain the structure of the spiral arms, not gravity. [Reference: ]

Dark matter is needed as an excuse when magnetic fields are ignored.

When TFR has an explicitly stated connection to non-existent dark matter, then TFR is connected to a mistake.

12.2 Galaxy example: NGC 4535.

The following images are from NED, or the NASA Extragalactic Database.

NGC 4535 has Cepheids so some of its data, including spectra, are in section Cepheids. The top of the Distances (54) list was shown. Several of the Cepheid distances were shown.
Only the average of all the Cepheid distances was shown in that section.

Here is a lower segment of that display, where Tully-Fisher distances begin

Here is the bottom segment of that display, where the Tully-Fisher distances end.

Here, the critical line on the display of 54 values is this excerpt with its distance:

16.10 Mpc |  Statistical Method | Note: Mean of Cepheids and Tully-Fisher

According to this line, NED calculated the mean of many values with the result of 16.10 Mpc.
For comparison, the NED redshift distance using the redshift velocity and H0 is 27.19 Mpc

This redshift distance is 69% higher than statistical mean of distances using Cepheids and using TFR.

The problem is: there is no impartial distance measurement serving as the benchmark to check values from the respective methods, like Redshift, TFR, and Cepheids.

12.3 Faber-Jackson Relation

The Faber–Jackson relation provided the first empirical power-law relation between the luminosity and the central stellar velocity dispersion of elliptical galaxy, and was presented by the astronomers Sandra M. Faber and Robert Earl Jackson in 1976. [Reference:  ]

The term "velocity dispersion" should be defined here.

"In astronomy, the velocity dispersion is the statistical dispersion of velocities about the mean velocity for a group of astronomical objects, such as an open cluster, globular cluster, galaxy, galaxy cluster, or supercluster. By measuring the radial velocities of the group's members through astronomical spectroscopy, the velocity dispersion of that group can be estimated and used to derive the group's mass from the virial theorem. Radial velocity is found by measuring the Doppler width of spectral lines of a collection of objects; the more radial velocities one measures, the more accurately one knows their dispersion. A central velocity dispersion refers to the ? of the interior regions of an extended object, such as a galaxy or cluster.
The relationship between velocity dispersion and matter (or the observed electromagnetic radiation emitted by this matter) takes several forms in astronomy based on the object(s) being observed.

For instance, the Faber–Jackson relation for elliptical galaxies, and the Tully–Fisher relation for spiral galaxies. For example, the ? found for objects about the Milky Way's supermassive black hole (SMBH) is about 75 km/s. The Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31) hosts a SMBH about 10 times larger than our own, and has a ? ? 160 km/s. [Reference:  ]


There is a wrong fundamental assumption here.

Stars in galaxies of any type are not moving by the force of gravity.
Stars have a net positive charge. That enables stars to move by the Lorentz force from a spiral galaxy's magnetic field.  This was explained in the TRF description earlier, with citations.

Instead of accepting the 2010 study of M31, and admitting there is no dark matter, as clamed, cosmology continues with the discredited dark matter excuse, because they consistently ignore electromagnetism.

The recognition that stars have a positive charge is important to elliptical galaxies also.

In an elliptical galaxy, the stars are moving by electrodynamics, the mechanism for charged bodies in motion. The details are not crucial here, other than noting gravity is wrong for galaxies, by many reasons, including dropping any mention of dark matter.

Cosmology invokes dark matter whenever a magnetic field is ignored so an unexpected behavior has no explanation using gravity. That mistake results in gravity being invoked first, leading to dark matter.

The description of this method mentions the velocity dispersion in the elliptical galaxy.

I checked Wikipedia for details of all elliptical galaxies in the Messier list: M49, M87, M89, M105,  and M110
. Wikipedia offers extensive descriptions, but none of the galaxies have their velocity dispersion.
It is impossible to review this method when the proposed algorithm has no supporting data or examples of its actual application.

12.4 Branch Methods

Horizontal Branch, Tip of Red Giant Branch, and Red Clump are described.

12.4.1 Horizontal Branch

Horizontal Branch is another method of estimating a galaxy's distance without a detailed analysis of lines in its spectrum.

The horizontal branch (HB) is a stage of stellar evolution that immediately follows the red giant branch in stars whose masses are similar to the Sun's. Horizontal-branch stars are powered by helium fusion in the core (via the triple-alpha process) and by hydrogen fusion (via the CNO cycle) in a shell surrounding the core. The onset of core helium fusion at the tip of the red giant branch causes substantial changes in stellar structure, resulting in an overall reduction in luminosity, some contraction of the stellar envelope, and the surface reaching higher temperatures.
Horizontal branch stars were discovered with the first deep photographic photometric studies of globular clusters and were notable for being absent from all open clusters that had been studied up to that time. The horizontal branch is so named because in low-metallicity star collections like globular clusters, HB stars lie along a roughly horizontal line in a Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. Because the stars of one globular cluster are all at essentially the same distance from us, their apparent magnitudes all have the same relationship to their absolute magnitudes, and thus absolute-magnitude-related properties are plainly visible on an H-R diagram confined to stars of that cluster, undiffused by distance and thence magnitude uncertainties. [Reference: ]


The application of this method requires:

a) Resolution to individual stars in the galaxy,
b) Certainty in identifying the type of star being measured,

c) the life cycle of a star is not certain since one cycle has never been observed, so any assumptions based on are invalid; the description is not clear on this dependence.

With current imaging technology, this method could be limited for application at distances far beyond the Local Group.

12.4.2 Tip of the red-giant branch (TRGB) distance indicator

Tip of the red-giant branch (TRGB) is a primary distance indicator used in astronomy.
It uses the luminosity of the brightest red-giant-branch stars in a galaxy as a standard candle to gauge the distance to that galaxy. It has been used in conjunction with observations from the Hubble Space Telescope to determine the relative motions of the Local Cluster of galaxies within the Local Supercluster. Ground-based, 8-meter-class telescopes like the VLT are also able to measure the TRGB distance within reasonable observation times in the local universe. [Reference: ]


The application of this method requires:

a) Resolution to individual stars in the galaxy,
b) Certainty in identifying the type of star being measured,

12.4.3 Red Clump

Red Clump is another method of estimating a galaxy's distance without a detailed analysis of lines in its spectrum.

The red clump is a clustering of red giants in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram at around 5,000 K and absolute magnitude (MV) +0.5, slightly hotter than most red-giant-branch stars of the same luminosity. It is visible as a denser region of the red-giant branch or a bulge towards hotter temperatures. It is prominent in many galactic open clusters, and it is also noticeable in many intermediate-age globular clusters and in nearby field stars (e.g. the Hipparcos stars). [Reference:


The application of this method requires:

a) Resolution to individual stars in the galaxy,
b) Certainty in identifying the type of star being measured,

With current imaging technology, this method could be too limited for application at distances far beyond the Local Group. The description suggests it works only to Hipparcos distances.

12.5 Luminosity Methods

The luminosity methods are: Luminosity distance, PNLF, GCLF,  and SBF, CMD.  Each method is described here.

12.5.1 Luminosity Distance

Luminosity Distance is another method of estimating a galaxy's distance without a detailed analysis of lines in its spectrum.

Luminosity distance DL is defined in terms of the relationship between the absolute magnitude M and apparent magnitude m of an astronomical object.

M = m – 5(log10DL – 1)

which gives:

DL = 10(m-M) +1

where DL is measured in parsecs. For nearby objects (say, in the Milky Way) the luminosity distance gives a good approximation to the natural notion of distance in Euclidean space.

The relation is less clear for distant objects like quasars far beyond the Milky Way since the apparent magnitude is affected by spacetime curvature, redshift, and time dilation. Calculating the relation between the apparent and actual luminosity of an object requires taking all of these factors into account.
The object's actual luminosity is determined using the inverse-square law and the proportions of the object's apparent distance and luminosity distance.
Another way to express the luminosity distance is through the flux-luminosity relationship. Since,

F = L / (4? DL2)
where F is flux (W·m^-2), and L is luminosity (W). From this the luminosity distance can be expressed as:

DL = square root of (L / 4x pi x F)

The luminosity distance is related to the "comoving transverse distance" by

DL = (1 + z) DM

And with the angular distance parameter DA by the Etherington's reciprocity theorem:

DL = (1 + z)^2 DA

where z is the redshift. is a factor that allows calculation of the comoving distance between two objects with the same redshift but at different positions of the sky; if the two objects are separated by an angle delta-theta. the comoving distance between them would be DM delta-theta. In a spatially flat universe, the comoving transverse is exactly equal to the radial comoving DC, i.e. the comoving distance from ourselves to the object. [Reference: ]


There are many false assumptions in this method so one must doubt its results.

1) One mistake is the claim: "the apparent magnitude is affected by spacetime curvature, redshift, and time dilation"

None of those things affects magnitude. Curvature and time dilation cannot apply here because they can apply only to the special moving observer. All celestial objects move only according to the sum of all forces acting on them. None move according to the rules applied by space-time.

Therefore, the universe is "spatially flat" so Euclidean space is the correct context, just like for near objects.

A galaxy redshift is only a measured change in a specific emission line wavelength, so it is impossible to affect the magnitude of the full spectrum.
12.5.2 Planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF)

Planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF) is a secondary distance indicator used in astronomy. It makes use of the [O III] ?5007 forbidden line found in all planetary nebula (PNe) which are members of the old stellar populations (Population II). It can be used to determine distances to both spiral and elliptical galaxies despite their completely different stellar populations and is part of the Extragalactic Distance Scale.

The relative independence of the PNLF cutoff with respect to population age is harder to understand. The [O III] ?5007 flux of a PNe directly correlates to the brightness of its central star. Further, the brightness of its central star directly correlates to its mass and the central star's mass directly varies in relation to its progenitor's mass. However, by observation, it is demonstrated that reduced brightness does not happen. [Reference: ]


This "does not happen" because there are too many baseless assumptions. This function depends on correctly understanding a star's life cycle. As mentioned in section Stars, the presence of elements is explained wrong by the defective fusion model. Robitaille's LMH model, without internal fusion under impossible equilibrium, explains all stellar observations. Cosmologists are wrong about the life cycle of a star.
The application of the PNLF method requires:

a) Resolution to individual stars in the galaxy, and even to a rare planetary nebula,

a) Certainty in identifying the type of star being measured for its nebula expected to possess specific elements,
b) Certainty in understanding how, when and why, a star erupts and ejects the plasma shell called a planetary nebula.

Perhaps PNLF can be improved but right now it is invalid simply because of (c); the current gaseous sun model using a fusion cycle is wrong when it fails to explain many solar observations.

However, the Robitaille LMH model for a star matches all solar observations.

Therefore, any conclusions using PNLF will probably be wrong.

12.5.3 Globular cluster luminosity function (GCLF)

A paper was published in 2010 having the title:

Globular cluster luminosity function as distance indicator

Another paper reviewed that paper.

Lately the study of the Globular Cluster Systems has been used more as a tool for galaxy formation and evolution, and less so for distance determinations. [R241]


With that published paper stating the limited application of GCLF, any applications of GCLF for a distance will probably be wrong.

12.5.4 Surface brightness fluctuation (SBF)

Surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) is a secondary distance indicator used to estimate distances to galaxies. It is useful to 100 Mpc (parsec). The method measures the variance in a galaxy's light distribution arising from fluctuations in the numbers of and luminosities of individual stars per resolution element.
The SBF technique uses the fact that galaxies are made up of a finite number of stars. The number of stars in any small patch of a galaxy will vary from point to point, creating a noise-like fluctuation in its surface brightness. While the various stars present in a galaxy will cover an enormous range of luminosity, the SBF can be characterized as having an average brightness. A galaxy twice as far away appears twice as smooth as a result of the averaging. Older elliptical galaxies have fairly consistent stellar populations, thus it closely approximates a standard candle. In practice, corrections are required to account for variations in age or metallicity from galaxy to galaxy. Calibration of the method is made empirically from Cepheids or theoretically from stellar population models. [Reference: ]


The section Galaxies with Cepheids noted there are few of them. If this function requires a Cepheid, then it is limited to only a few galaxies.
This surface brightness analysis ignores every galaxy has an AGN in its core which is a source of synchrotron radiation extending from X-ray to radio. The visible light from every galaxy has a component from the AGN.

It is quite impossible to have an accurate correction for anything when our history of accumulating data with appropriate precision spans over only decades, while the life cycle of stars is assumed to span millions of years. We have never observed an entire life cycle of any individual star. When lacking a history, any correction is just conjecture.
The life cycle of stars is misunderstood, when based on the internal fusion mechanism. The LMH model explains stars better. Assumptions based on stellar populations lack an acceptable foundation for this SBF to be valid.

The application of the SBF method requires:

a) Resolution to individual stars in the galaxy, and even within an elliptical galaxy where only outer stars on the near side can be measured; its limit at 100 Mpc is acknowledged,

b) Certainty in identifying the type of star being measured which is currently expected to possess specific elements.

Perhaps SBF can be improved but right now it is invalid simply because of (b); the current gaseous sun model using a fusion cycle is wrong when it fails to explain many solar observations.

However, the Robitaille LMH model for a star matches all solar observations.

Therefore, any conclusions using SBF will probably be wrong.

12.5.5 Color-Magnitude Diagram (CMD)

The galaxy color–magnitude diagram shows the relationship between absolute magnitude (a measure of luminosity) and mass of galaxies.

Unlike the comparable Hertzsprung–Russell diagram for stars, galaxy properties are not necessarily completely determined by their location on the color–magnitude diagram. The diagram also shows considerable evolution through time. [Reference:



The diagram has its x-axis as from low luminosity to high, and y-axis is from red to blue. Red is most ellipticals, while blue is most spirals. Both axes are poorly defined. There is no defined procedure for measuring the mass of a galaxy.

CMD is mentioned for only 6 galaxies in my review of 600+ galaxies in NED.

Perhaps, this function is still being refined for a wider application.

Go to Table of Contents, to read a specific section.

;ast update: 01/14/2022