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A Spot of Hype

19 May 2017, 15:50 UTC
A Spot of Hype
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A few weeks ago a paper came out in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (accompanied by a press release from the Royal Astronomical Society) about a possible explanation for the now-famous cold spot in the cosmic microwave background sky that I’ve blogged about on a number of occasions:

If the standard model of cosmology is correct then a spot as cold as this and as large as this is quite a rare event, occurring only about 1% of the time in sky patterns simulated using the model assumptions. One possible explanation of this ( which I’ve discussed before) is that this feature is generated not by density fluctuations in the primordial plasma (which are thought to cause the variation of temperature of the cosmic microwave background across the sky), but by something much more recent in the evolution of the Universe, namely a local large void in the matter distribution which would cause a temperature fluctuation by the Sachs-Wolfe Effect.
The latest paper by Mackenzie et al. (which can be found on the arXiv here) pours enough cold water on that explanation to drown it completely and wash away the corpse. A detailed survey of the galaxy distribution ...

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