Real Science Radio's Excerpts
from the WMAP & Planck Anisotropy of the Universe Papers
with a little help from New Scientist
aka The Big Bang Theory Goes Ker-Planck
* The CMB, NASA's Top 3 Proofs, RSR's #1 Ranking: [Updated in 2018] NASA ranks the CMB (cosmic microwave background) among the top three confirmations of the big bang predictions. (See or click the image, right.) Yet Google ranks rsr.org/bbp #1 among the millions of results for a search on: big bang predictions! So, who's correct in this standoff? NASA? Or Google and RSR? To decide, you can:
- check out today's RSR program on the CMB and the Axis of Evil, or
- see Part II of our BB video (just below), or
- hear our broadcast and/or read our article at rsr.org/bbp.
Summary: The belief, held by faith by many cosmologists, that God did not create the universe suggests, as codified in their Copernican and Cosmological principles, claims that the Earth is not in a special place. If however, the most expansive scientific observations ever made demonstrate that the universe has, in effect, a north and a south pole, aligned in an uncanny way with the Earth's orbit around the sun, then that would suggest that when God created the heavens and the Earth, that He put the Earth in a special place. Thus, atheistic cosmologists have coined the term Axis of Evil because in their upside down worldview, anything is evil if it is evidence against the big bang and for the God of the Bible.
Click Play for RSR's BB Part 2 on the three main predictions...
* First – The BIG NAMES in Cosmology and Physics Admit It's Philosophy: Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman, Edwin Hubble, George Ellis, and so many other accomplished scientists admit that it is not observational science, but philosophy, that leads such big bang advocates to claim that the universe has no center (and thus that it is homogenous and isotropic, the same everywhere and in every direction). If you don't know that, read their quotes at rsr.org/cosmological-prinicple. If you've read their comments, and you are still in denial about this, ask God to help you, and He will. Meanwhile, the rest of us may proceed...
* Second – Another Big Name Admits What the CMB Data Seems to Show: Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss (emphasis on the theoretical), put it this way:
But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy. We're looking out at the whole universe. There's no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe. The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong [RSR: That's extreme hyperbole; No operational science would be wrong, only the typical wild guesswork of origins science would be wrong] and we're the center of the universe, or maybe the data is simply incorrect, or maybe it's telling us there's something weird about the microwave background results and that maybe, maybe there's something wrong with our theories on the larger scales.
* Third – WMAP PROJECT (2001 – 2013): This mission was the result of a partnership between Princeton University and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and later the ESA Planck spacecraft (2009 – 2013) complemented and greatly enhanced the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) mission to map the CMB. As stated on an official Planck site, "Planck data reveals the presence of subtle anomalies in the CMB pattern that might challenge the very foundations of cosmology."
* The CMB Segment of our BB Video Queued Up: In case you didn't watch Part 2 of RSR's BB video just above, at least check out the CMB segment that's queued up here. Just click...
* Post-show Updates: Unexpectedly, NASA's Voyager 1 & 2, having now both crossed the heliopause and left the solar system as of 2018, have both found, separately, that the solar system's north is aligned with the north of interstellar space, and how this could be is "simply not understood." Separately, regarding the axis of evil, see creationist cosmologist Dr. John Hartnett's Cosmology is Not Even Astrophysics (the last paragraph) and his excellent 2006 article CMB Conundrums.
* New Scientist: Planck shows... axis of evil: This article by Jacob Aron reviews the latest science on the mapping of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The title of the article is Planck shows almost perfect cosmos – plus axis of evil. It's about:
… a four-year mission conducted by the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft, which has created the highest-resolution map yet of the entire cosmic microwave background (CMB)… Planck's map greatly improves cosmologists' understanding of the universe, but it does not solve lingering mysteries over unusual patterns in the CMB. These include a "preferred" direction in the way the temperature of the light varies, dubbed the cosmic "axis of evil"…
The high-resolution results from Planck show very strong agreement with cosmological theory. 'The overall conclusion is that standard cosmology is an extremely good match to Planck data,' said Cambridge astrophysicist George] Efstathiou. 'If I were an inflationary theorist I would be extremely happy.'
Cosmologists can't pack up and go home just yet though, as Planck's map has also confirmed the presence of a mysterious alignment of the universe. [RSR: Seems like they are committing a rsr/org/ReMineism.] The "axis of evil" was identified by Planck's predecessor, NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe…
The pattern of hot and cold variations in the CMB should be randomly distributed – and they are when comparing small patches of the universe. At larger scales, however, Planck reveals that one half of the universe has bigger variations than the other. Planck's detectors are over 10 times more sensitive and have about 2.5 times the angular resolution of WMAP's, giving cosmologists a much better look at this alignment. "We can be extremely confident that these anomalies are not caused by galactic emissions and not caused by instrumental effects, because our two instruments see very similar features," said Efstathiou.
* CMB Map Resolution Improvement Since 1992: Wow! Via Planck.
arXiv Aug. 19, 2013 Dipole Anisotropy in Integrated Linearly Polarized Flux Density in NVSS Data
Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur - 208016, India
There currently exists considerable evidence in favor of a large scale anisotropy in the Universe with the preferred axis pointing roughly in the direction of Virgo, close to the CMBR dipole [that is, within margins of error, which dipole itself is much larger than expected by the Doppler effect]. Furthermore it seems very unlikely that systematic effects would pick the same direction in so many different observations, i.e. radio polarizations orientations (Jain & Ralston 1999), optical polarizations (Hutsemekers 1998), CMBR quadrupole and octopole (de Oliveira-Costa et al. 2004), radio number counts (Blake & Wall 2002; Singal 2011) and radio polarization flux (present work). In all likelihood this alignment of axes (Ralston & Jain 2004) is caused by a physical effect.
(Tiwari and Jain, 2013, pp. 1, 13)
arXiv Aug. 8, 2013: Testing the Dipole Modulation Model in CMBR
Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur - 208016, India, Pranati K. Rath and Pankaj Jain
…there are several observations which suggest a preferred axis pointing roughly towards Virgo [1–6]. One also observes a hemispherical anisotropy [7–13], where the power extracted from two different hemispheres shows significant difference from one another. The power in each hemisphere is estimated by making a harmonic decomposition of the masked sky. … This direction is nearly perpendicular to the direction towards Virgo. These observations suggest a violation of the cosmological principle… the hemispherical anisotropy found in [7–12] cannot be consistently attributed to the dipole modulation model, Eq. 1.1. The true anisotropy model is likely to be more complicated and might contain higher order multipoles.
arXiv May 17, 2013: Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky?
Astronomy and Astrophysics Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, India
… (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies, which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic [1,2]. … Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies… The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP).
He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing. -Job 26:7
The NCP is the point in the sky about which
all the stars seen from the Northern Hemisphere rotate. -RSR
"We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. …radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. [RSR: they're only anomalies because of the big bang expectations]… What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican [cosmological] principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based… [The] probability of occurrence due to being simply a statistical fluctuation is only about 5×10^5 [1 in 20,000]. These results are robust. There is little likelihood that these anomaly could be the result of, e.g., some missing sources in the 3CRR catalogue, as this is one of the most thoroughly studied radio complete sample of sources… The number and size distribution data in region I seems to punch a hole in the unification scheme, however here we have even bigger things at stake [RSR: than just anisotropy in the CMB]. …a large scale dipole anisotropy in radio source distribution at much fainter levels was seen earlier, and was [initially] interpreted due to motion of the solar system… However the present anisotropies could not be caused by a motion of the solar system as it could not give rise to different anisotropies for different objects. … The apparent alignment in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in one particular direction through space is called ”evil” because it undermines our ideas about the standard cosmological model. … The axis of evil passes very close to the line joining the two equinox points, and so does the dipole direction representing the overall motion of the solar system in the universe. Also our plane [i.e., this May 2013 paper on Cornell University's arXiv service] dividing the two regions of asymmetry passes through the same two equinox points. …there is no denying that from the large anisotropies present in the radio sky, independently seen both in the discrete source distribution and in the diffuse CMBR, the Copernican principle seems to be in jeopardy.
arXiv 2012 Nine-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Parameter Results
The quadrupole and octupole, expected to have independent and random orientations… differ by ~ 3 degrees. ...an interpretation of the temperature-temperature and temperature-polarization cross-power – 4 – spectrum peaks [is in] (Page et al. 2003b).
[BE note: Perusing the Page 2003b paper, I think it attempts to explain the quadrupole data in terms of the alleged reionization of the universe. So far, I haven't found which of the WMAP papers directly address (in English at least :) the dipole, quadrupole, octopole, etc. anisotropy.]
2007 Physical Review D (pdf) The Uncorrelated Universe: Statistical Anisotropy and the Vanishing Angular Correlation Function in WMAP Years 1-3
Physics Department, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; Kavli Inst. for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, IL; Physics Department, Bielefeld University, Germany; Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Oxford, UK.
The large-angle (low-?) correlations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) as reported by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) after their first year of observations exhibited statistically significant anomalies compared to the predictions of the standard inflationary big-bang model. …despite the identification by the WMAP team of a systematic correlated with the equinoxes and the ecliptic, the anomalies in the first- year Internal Linear Combination (ILC) map persist in the three-year ILC map, in all-but-one case at similar statistical significance. The three-year ILC quadrupole and octopole therefore remain inconsistent with statistical isotropy – they are correlated with each other (99.6%C.L.), and there are statistically significant correlations with local geometry, especially that of the solar system. The angular two-point correlation… is even more discrepant with the best fit ΛCDM inflationary model than in the first-year data – 99.97%C.L. for the new ILC map. … The role of the newly identified low-? systematics is more puzzling than reassuring.
2009 Astrophysical Journal Hinshaw, et al., Five-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Observations
We present new full-sky temperature and polarization maps… based on data from the first five years of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) sky survey. The new maps are consistent with previous maps and are more sensitive. … W-band polarization data is not yet suitable for cosmological studies… Ka-band data is suitable for use… [The map just below, to the right, is for one of the 5 frequency ranges, at 23 GHz.] With the five-year WMAP data, we detect no convincing deviations from the minimal six-parameter ΛCDM model: a flat universe dominated by a cosmological constant…
The cosmological implications of the five-year WMAP data are discussed in detail in Dunkley et al. (2009) and Komatsu et al. (2009). The now-standard cosmological model: a flat universe dominated by vacuum energy and dark matter, seeded by nearly scale-invariant, adiabatic, Gaussian random-phase fluctuations, continues to fit the five-year data. … Ka-band data can be used along with Q- and V-band data for cosmological analyses.
The WMAP observatory continues to operate at L2 [Lagrange 2]… The WMAP data continue to uphold the standard ΛCDM model but more data may reveal new surprises.
[See also Table 7: Cosmological Parameter Summary for latest values for age of universe, Hubble constant, baryon density, dark matter & energy densities, age at reionization, total density, etc.]
...we now see unambiguous evidence for a second dip in the high-l TE spectrum, which further constrains deviations from the standard ΛCDM model. p. 240
The five-year data continue to favor a tilted primordial fluctuation spectrum… p. 243
2006 Blog: WMAP: The Cosmic Axis of Evil by Univ. of Michigan Astronomy Department's Michael Milligan:
The top left figure is the familiar temperature map of the microwave background. Now the bread-and-butter of CMB work is breaking this map up into multipoles, or simple functions that each encode structure on a particular scale, and which when added together give you the original map. … When this was first done a few years back, ears pricked up because, if you squint, it looks like the l=2 and l=3 (and maybe l=5) multipoles have the same alignment. Almost like they're lined up along a cosmic axis, which you wouldn't expect if the multipoles are randomly aligned. But it's theoretically very naughty to give the Universe any kind of special direction; hence the axis of evil bit. In particular, it's hard to have a preferred cosmic axis, or vector anisotropy, without messing up the electromagnetic force in really obvious ways. But back then it was pointed out that the supposed Cosmic Axis also lines up with the axis of the galactic coordinate system, and that would be quadruply unlikely. So it was dismissed as an artifact of not being able to perfectly subtract contamination from the galaxy -- for instance, maybe the cold patch I mentioned above isn't real. Except that now we have the 3-year WMAP data release, and it makes a strong case that this is real. So either we have a curious coincidence on our hands (just how curious is being hotly debated, but any sort of curious coincidence always makes theoretical physicists jumpy), or there's something genuinely odd about the very geometry of our universe. So far they think it's not quite curious enough that we need to seriously consider the second possibility, but be sure that they're thinking about it. Image from 3-Year WMAP: Temperature Analysis, 2007, Hinshaw et al., p. 316.
2007 Astrophysical Journal Three-Year WMAP Observations: Implications for Cosmology
The authors exuberantly see affirmations everywhere of the standard model (which by "the WMAP data… require dark matter"); they confidently state that, "there is little room for significant modifications of the basic ΛCDM model" (which will be fun to assess over the next decade); and then as quietly as a ReMineism they conclude, "Cosmology requires… a mechanism to generate primordial fluctuation."
A Rather Blunt Russian Astrophysicist: This professor is quoted in Pravda, but still, as a source its only slightly less reliable than the NY Times. So we decided to include his assessment in our own RSR anisotropy report:
"The discovery casts doubts on all contemporary concepts of the nature and development of the universe," says Leonid Speransky, an astrophysicist and professor with the Lomonosov State University in Moscow. "Even the Einstein theory of relativity seems obsolete now. Until recently space and time were believed to have unfolded in a chaotic way after the Big Bang, and the universe was thought to be homogeneous and expanding continuously. Now scientists will have to acquiesce to an ordered way of development of the universe as if it was born and develops in compliance with a scenario written beforehand."
All WMAP data are public, at http://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Legacy Archive for Microwave Background Data Analysis.
REVIEW ALSO for this RSR summary: (Michael Milligan, blogger at the University of Michigan, recommends reviewing the first two):
- 2013. "Planck 2013 results XXIII. Isotropy and Statistics of the CMB" brief discussion in sec. 5.1, "mode alignment"
- 2011. Bennett et al. "Seven-year WMAP Observations: Are There Cosmic Microwave Background Anomalies?" updated discussion and figure
- 2007. Hinshaw. 3-Year WMAP: Temperature Analysis
- 2009. Komatsu. ApJS, 180, 330. A "discussion of the cosmological interpretation…"
- 2011. Larson. ApJS, 192, 16. On the "cosmological parameters based only on WMAP data…"
- 2011. Komatsu. ApJS, 192, 18. On the "cosmological interpretations based on a wider set of cosmological data…"
- 2011. Bennett. ApJS, 192, 17. A "discussion of the goodness of fit of the ΛCDM model and potential anomalies…"
- 2007. Spergel. ApJS, 170, 377.
- 2009. Dunkley. "...a Bayesian [probabilities] estimation of the CMB polarization maps… completed the five-year results."
The Copernican violation paper above references these:
- 2004. CMBR observations from the WMAP satellite show unexpected anisotropies, which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic (sources: 2004, Is the Low-l Microwave Background Cosmic? Phys. Rev. Letters [not yet in RSR Mendeley acct]
- 2010. Large-Angle Anomalies in the CMB arXiv:1004.5602v2)
- 2005. Examination of evidence for a preferred axis in the cosmic radiation anisotropy Phys. Rev. Lett.
Note: This rsr.org/anisotropy page contains our RSR raw notes. We plan to develop this over time the way we do our primary resource pages like rsr.org/dinosaur-soft-tissue, rsr.org/carbon-14, rsr.org/genomes-that-just-dont-fit, rsr.org/evidence-against-the-big-bang, rsr.org/darwin-doubters, rsr.org/creationist-predictions, rsr.org/theistic-evolution, rsr.org/list-of-not-so-old-things, and rsr.org/fine-tuning.
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