The Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropy is currently aligning Earth and the Solar System with the largest and earliest structure of the universe. Has this been explained yet? Or are the theories what might explain it. I know there have been papers arguing the effect is caused by the peculiar motion of the Milky Way and the Local Group. But explanations like that don't actually change anything, unless all the other solar in the Local Group are aligned the same way. Or there's a reason why a larger number of them would be than otherwise, due to the peculiar motion. So I don't see that's got legs (I am probably totally confused).

UPDATE 22/08/2016------------------------------- The matter is still unresolved but it has become common currency among cosmologists and physicists to dismiss the problem with unpublished notions that do not stand up to scrutiny (because i.e. the explanation has been ruled out). Just to deal with one common misconception (or rationalization), that the anomaly hasn't been explained yet, but similar anomalies have, usually in terms of the effect on redshift caused by the motion of the earth. This is very intuitive and plausible, but it has been ruled out, because to paraquote Max Tegmark who directed a study of the phenomenon, if that were the explanation, you'd expect successively higher resolution measurements to peel some of it away or at least go in that direction. What has been happening in fact, is the anomaly sharpens and becomes more complex with higher resolution, which strongly suggests it is a real thing.

I am currently looking for out-lying explanations that may have gone overlooked. I'm currently interested only in qualified scientists that have spent their career in obscurity (possibly due to making a radical suggestion-too-far at some point earlier in their career. I'll update the question if there's any news on that.


closed as off-topic by David Z Aug 26 '16 at 13:35

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How can it possibly be explained in terms of some cosmic alignment? The alignment of the plane of the ecliptic is essentially random with respect to the plane of the Galaxy - it could literally have been anything. We know from looking for eclipsing binaries and transiting planets that the "ecliptic" planes of other stellar and planetary systems are different to our own.

Therefore any attempt to claim that there is some special alignment for the solar system where we live with respect to the genuine CMB, is indeed attempting to claim that tiny variations in the CMB (or other "axis of evil" type large-scale structures) somehow have a strong influence on the likelihood of intelligent life evolving on a planet. This is within the realm of scientific investigation, but I have seen no attempt to explain why this could be so.

Alternatively it is suggesting that there is some kind of grand design to the universe that we somehow fit in with. This is outside the scope of science (and this site).

Edit: I realise I was too hasty with the "how can it be explained" remark. What I should have said is how can any alignment of the actual CMB with the solar system be explained in cosmological terms. There is in fact another class of explanation that makes much more sense. The origin of the weak alignment (certainly not 5 sigma significant) could be in some sort of foreground contamination of the CMB signal by material in the solar system itself. Possible culprits are zodiacal dust or dust in the Kuiper belt. Of course the analysis teams for WMAP and Planck have tried to avoid such problems, but these seem to be the only possibilities that are considered and not wholly dismissed by Schwarz et al. (including Huterer, 2015) in their recent review of these issues.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – David Z Aug 26 '16 at 13:36

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