A guy who has a career in medical physics named Pierre-Marie Robitaille argues in two recently published papers in “Progress in Physics”, that the CMB is not from the big bang but from the oceans.

The first paper is entitled WMAP: A Radiological Analysis. This work analyzes the WMAP images based on accepted standards for image acquisition and processing. It demonstrates that it is not appropriate to evaluate cosmological parameters based on measurements from either WMAP or COBE.

In the second paper, evidence is presented for the reassigment of the CMB to the oceans of the Earth. This work demonstrates that the Earth cannot be modeled as a 285K source as the COBE team assumes. This is postulated by a third paper authored by Dmitri Rabounski, a Russian theoretical physicist in "The Relativistic Effect of the Deviation between the CMB Temperatures Obtained by the COBE Satellite".

Robitaille also claims that Kirchhoff's law of thermal emission is invalid and this recent video is of him claiming that Penzias and Wilson measured water on Earth.

These people also base their case on 2 questions: (1) When you put a glass of water inside a microwave oven and turn it on does the water in the glass reflect the microwaves or does it absorb them? (2) Is a powerful absorber of microwaves also a powerful emitter thereof?

Can anyone debunk and address these claims?


It is a waste of time to even read such arguments if they are really based on

These people also base their case on 2 questions: (1) When you put a glass of water inside a microwave oven and turn it on does the water in the glass reflect the microwaves or does it absorb them? (2) Is a powerful absorber of microwaves also a powerful emitter thereof?

water absorption

The absorption spectrum of water.

Note microwaves go from 1mm to the right in this plot, up to a meter.

Power is supplied by the radiation. Whether it is absorbed or not will depend on the molecular structure of the matter under radiation. If you supply energy in the microwave part of the spectrum water will absorb it, as it will absorb many other higher frequencies.

The spectrum this matter will radiate with depends on the power, i.e. kinetic energy of the molecules that compose this matter. This is the temperature of matter. The hotter the harder the radiated spectrum, called a black body spectrum.

So the two statements you quote make no causal ( cause and effect) physics sense. Water is a strong absorber of many frequencies when supplied to it, and a black body emitter depending on the temperature it is when its emissions are measured.

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The radiological analysis by Robitaille is evaluating the CMB measurement in relation to the magnetic resonance imaging, which if a completely different area, using a completely different techniques and principles. Comparing the output of WMAP with images from MRI makes no sense. This paper is also stating that the CMB signal is very weak and completely lost in foreground signal. This is not true: the signal to noise ratio of the measurements are very good, as stated by Robitaille himself in his second paper.

The other Robitaille's paper is stating that the CMB signal is very strong and thus it cannot be coming from great distances. It must be coming from a very close source - likely the Earth oceans. The statemets about the signal strength in the 2 Robitaille's papers are contradicting: the first one is stating the signal is too weak, the second one is stating it is too strong.

The explanation that oceans are the source of CMB makes no sense. WMAP and Planck probes have seen CMB coming from all directions when they were 1.5 million km away from the Earth: that's 120 times more than the diameter of Earth; the Earth angular size at that distance is 0.5 degree (like the Moon seen from the Earth). Oceans cannot radiate into a detector that is so far away and looking away from the Earth. It would be like the Moon blinding us when we are looking away from it (standing on the Earth).

COBE probe was located much closer to the Earth: 900 km above the surface. It was measuring only in the direction away from the Earth. Its measurements are consistent with those done by WMAP and Planck, so the relative proximity of oceans had no impact on the results.

The papers are full of questionable, inaccurate or simply wrong statements. For example Robitaille is saying that blackbody radiation can only be approximated by graphite or soot on Earth. This is not true. There are numerous sources of high quality blackbody radiation, much better than graphite or soot, and these sources behave consistently with Planck's law. See for example here or here.

Robitaille states that the CMB temperature spectrum cannot be associated with blackbody radiation, because the universe is not in thermal equilibrium with any enclosure. This is also wrong. Universe does not need any enclosure. The gas at last scattering was filling the whole universe, so all gas atoms were in thermal equilibrium with all other atoms (at leasts in the observable universe). According to Robitaille the CMB spectrum should be associated with the Earth oceans, but oceans do not emit a spectrum that looks exactly like a blackbody spectrum at 2.75 Kelvin.

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P.-M. Robitaille pointed out that the sensitivity of detectors on the satellites were only 2 times (and even 1.5 times only) over the background noise. Then he accounts for that at such a low resolution of the measuring instrument, the instrument must be directed to the irradiator for 10 minutes just to recognize and record the right signal. However, in the case of the satellites, the sighting time was a couple of seconds only. Hence all the measurements presented but people who tracked the satellite from the Earth were rigged to the previous data obtained by measuring from Earth. These remarks Dr. Robitaille addressed to the teams tracked the satellites; however, those researchers did not answer at all. I did not find mistakes in the Robitaille's concept, which also demonstrates his lectures:

4 April, 2014 On the Validity of Kirchhoff's Law | EU2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hstum3U2zw

25 April, 2014 The Cosmic Microwave Background https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8ijbu3bSqI

By the way, his lecture mentioned by Kyle Kanos above that the Sun's surface is a liquid hydrogen but not a gaseous matter deserves attention.

Regarding Dr. Robitaille, it is appropriate to quote Galileo Galilei: "In science, a quiet remark of one person is more valuable than loud statements of a thousandth crowd."

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    $\begingroup$ A quiet remark of one person is not always more valuable. It is more valuable only if the one person is right. But the usual problem is that there is huge amount of various remarks against mainstream physics from a lot of individuals, often contradicting each other, but all of them are convinced that their voice is more valuable than the mainstream physics. $\endgroup$ – mpv Jun 25 '14 at 16:43

Those here who dispute Robitaille have revealed that they have not understood his work or have not bothered to study his papers before uttering their comments. It is irrefutable that water absorbs and emits in microwave. In the liquid phase it does so in a continuous spectrum. In the gas phase it does so only in narrow bands. The glass of water in a microwave oven attests to absorption by water of microwaves. Similarly, radio communications in microwave is not used for submarines because under water microwaves are readily absorbed by the surrounding water. That which is a good absorber is also a good emitter, in the same frequencies. A good reflector is a poor absorber and hence a poor emitter.

The so-called CMB mean temperature (~3K) is resident in what is termed the monopole signal. The so-called anisotropies are in micro K. No monopole signal has ever been detected beyond Earth influence. COBE was in obrit at an altitude of ~950 km. WMAP and Planck were at L2, some 1.5 million km from Earth. WMAP was a differential instrument and therefore incapable of monopole detection. Plank's Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) had both absolute and differential capability. No monopole signal at L2 has been detected. The galactic foreground is in milli K. Thus, the alleged anisotropies are ~1000 times weaker than the noise. Laboratory experience attests that it is impossible to extract such a weak signal from such a large surrounding noise unless the experimenter has at his disposal at least one of two options: (1) a priori knowledge of the nature of the signal source, (2) the ability to manipulate the signal source. Neither option was available to any anisotropy probe. All talk of CMB and CMB anisotropies without a monopole signal beyond Earth influence is baseless. COBE DMR, WMAP, Planck etc; none can separate noise from signal. COBE FIRAS had tremendous signal to noise. It detected microwave emission from the oceans, but the COBE team erroneously assigned it to the Cosmos, because they wanted a Cosmic signal. Penzias and Wilson observed from the ground. They did not take account of microwave emission from the oceans. The finding by Penzias and Wilson was immediately assigned to the Cosmos by Dicke, Wilkinson, Peebles, and Roll, without knowledge of microwave emission from the oceans, and in ignorance of the nature of the hydrogen bond.

About 70% of Earth's surface is covered by water. The oceans are not microwave silent. Microwaves emitted by the oceans are scattered by the atmosphere. The conditions are steady-state. COBE's shield could not protect it from microwave emissions from below.

The species by which water emits in microwave is the hydrogen bond, at an apparent temperature of ~3K as a blackbody source. It is known that an atomic explosion over water causes the water in near vicinity to turn black for a short time, recovering its normal appearance after the shock wave has passed. This is plain evidence that water then acts as a blackbody in the visible bands. The black appearance is due to compression of the water lattice by the shock wave. Water has a hexagonal planar lattice, like graphite.

Here are Robitaille's papers on the COBE and WMAP:

Robitaille P.-M. WMAP: A Radiological Analysis http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2007/PP-08-01.PDF

Robitaille P.-M. COBE: A Radiological Analysis http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2009/PP-19-03.PDF

Robitaille has adduced a wealth of observational data that proves that the Sun is not a gas ball but is condensed matter. He proposes a liquid metallic hydrogen form for the Sun. I will not lengthen this post by further comment on the Sun. Robitaille's paper on the sun is also freely available at the website of the journal Progress in Physics.

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  • $\begingroup$ "WMAP was a differential instrument and therefore incapable of monopole detection." Could you elaborate on this? Why is that? (Layman language, please :) ) $\endgroup$ – bright magus Nov 4 '14 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ -1 . For falsification one strike is enough: The oceans are at around 300K black body radiation. Hydrogen bonds have nothing to do with it. $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '14 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ @brightmagus I checked it, and they are carefully excluding the earth direction. You seem to think that light in space hovers. It does not, it moves with the velocity of light (electromagneitc waves) in straight lines . Or do you not know that microwaves are electromagnetic waves? $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '14 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ @brightmagus I am pointing out basic physics errors. That the spectrum of absorption does not point to the power of emission, the power in emission is black body radiation related . and in this answer that the black body of the ocean is ~300k not 3. A model/theory falls with one false statement included. $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '14 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps I'm missing something, but the Planck satellite is situated about a million miles away from the Earth. Almost none of the radiation it detects comes from the Earth (or water). So what can this possibly have to do with the properties of water.... $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries May 1 '15 at 8:58

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