Planck Satellite Confirms WMAP Findings: Universe is not Copernican

The Modern World is Faced with the Breach of a Far Reaching Paradigm

Most cosmologists will not admit it publicly, but perhaps over a beer they would tell you what is happening. Observations over the last 50 years, culminating with the Planck satellite results (March 2013) set modern science on a counter revolution leading closer to ideas formed 500 years ago. Today’s cosmology is based on two broad principles: The Copernican Principle (we are not in a special place in the universe) and the Cosmological Principle (The Copernican Principle, plus isotropy- the view from anywhere in the universe looks about the same). Starting with early studies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), and in recent years culminating with results from the COBE then the WMAP satellites, scientists were faced with a signal at the largest scales of the universe- a signal that pointed right back at us, indicating that we are in a special place in the universe.

Without getting overly technical, the Copernican and cosmological principles require that any variation in the radiation from the CMB be more or less randomly distributed throughout the universe, especially on large scales. Results from the WMAP satellite (early 2000s) indicated that when looking at large scales of the universe, the noise could be partitioned into “hot” and “cold” sections, and this partitioning is aligned with our ecliptic plane and equinoxes. This partitioning and alignment resulted in an axis through the universe, which scientists dubbed “the axis of evil”, because of the damage it does to their theories. This axis is aligned to us. Lawrence Krauss commented in 2005:

But when you look at [the cosmic microwave background] 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.

Most scientists brushed the observation off as a fluke of some type, and many theories were created to explain it away. Many awaited the Planck mission. The Planck satellite was looked upon as a referee for these unexpected (and unwelcome) results. The Planck satellite used different sensor technology, and an improved scanning pattern to map the CMB. In March 2013, Planck reported back, and in fact verified the presence of the signal in even higher definition than before!

There are cosmologists and scientists who recognize the signal for what it is, and recent articles have started talking about the need for some “new physics” to explain the results. Even on the Planck mission website Professor Efstathiou states:

“Our ultimate goal would be to construct a new model that predicts the anomalies and links them together. But these are early days; so far, we don’t know whether this is possible and what type of new physics might be needed. And that’s exciting”

Other observations have independently validated the “axis of evil” in recent years, and this adds credibility to the CMB observations. These observations include galaxy rotation alignments to our tiny part of the universe . Very recent reports include observations of alignment between “sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies” and “a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP)”. Also anisotropy of cosmic acceleration in Union2 Type Ia supernova appear to be aligning with the CMB features. All this supports the contention that the Copernican Principle (and cosmological) have effectively been invalidated without even discussing the quantization of various astronomical features about us, which further support the contention.

The question is ‘what will modern science do now’? Will they invent additional parameters to keep the current theories alive (in addition to those already added: dark matter, dark energy, redshift as expansion, big bang inflation, etc.) or will they consider the possibility that we are in a special place as observations clearly indicate?