28 May 2006

We're lined up & it's a mystery?

Ennai kuowt from a report on the most recent updates to the WMAP universe-map:

The strangest mystery that arose from the first-year data was the alignment of the broadest fluctuations about a single axis in space. This alignment persists in the combined three-year data. Whether it represents some new, previously unrecognized phenomenon (perhaps yielding a deep insight into the physics of the big bang) or is merely a statistical fluke remains a subject of active investigation and debate.
Careful analysis has shown that the strange alignment of the broadest Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) fluctuations is real and significant at the 99% level. The alignment, together with the extreme weakness of those broad fluctuations, presents a real mystery whose resolution is not yet in sight.

Note that the reporter(s) swiftly return to the less-worrisome traditional dunno, prolly not important elusion with the next line: “On the other hand, alignments with the ecliptic turned out to be spurious. [and later say] efforts to determine the shape of the universe are, for the moment, dead in the water.”

Wouldn’t it be so much more interesting to live in a shapely universe?

Hey... that could be it! Maybe WMAP discovered that it was really “turtles all the way down”? Maybe now they’re waiting for flipper-and-shell-cancelling waves to arrive? (-:

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