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Scientists have long observed an apparent gradient in the cosmic microwave background but have been unable to determine how much is real and how much is perceived. USC Dornsife researchers appear to have found a way to an answer.
Observed from Earth, the universe appears a bit hotter at one end than the other, at least in terms of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). But the question plaguing cosmologists is whether that imbalance in the CMB is real or a result of the Doppler effect.
USC - Dornsife - Scientists - Siavash - Yasini
USC Dornsife scientists Siavash Yasini and Elena Pierpaoli may have found a way to nail down an answer.
Made most famous perhaps by Edwin Hubble, who used it to show that the universe is expanding, the Doppler effect is the apparent shift in the frequency of electromagnetic waves due to the motion of bodies traveling swiftly through space. Waves such as electromagnetic radiation—light waves, X-rays, microwaves, etc.—appear to shift in energy, with those moving toward an observer appearing to be higher in energy, or hotter, than they really are. The opposite is true for waves moving away from the observer, which appear colder.
Scientists - Sky - Space - Earth - Colder
Scientists looking at the sky see space trailing behind Earth appearing colder than space up ahead, but it's not clear if that's only the Doppler effect or an observation of a true difference in CMB temperature. It's a puzzle that has persisted for decades.
Because the CMB is leftover energy from the Big Bang—when the entire universe exploded outward from a single point—cosmologists have assumed it is dispersed evenly. The appearance of two poles in the universe, one warmer than the other, must therefore be a result of the Doppler effect, a result of the solar system careening through space.
Side - CMB - Hotter
"We think that one side of the CMB only looks hotter because we are moving towards it, and...
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