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Does the cosmos have direction?

  1. Oct 7, 2009 #1
    first i have to apologize if my question sounds dumb. but i graduated only recently from high school. so my current knowledge is at best as good as other high school students. here is my question:

    let's say that i am boarding a spaceship in the northpole. and then the ship takes off. am i actually going up or down in the universe? does the cosmos actually have a preferred direction? can we actually determine the direction by examining the degree of polarization of the radio waves emitted by the galaxies?

    thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2009 #2


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    There is no sense of "universal direction" at all. You are welcome to use the plane of the Earth's rotation to define the perpendicular direction "up." You're also welcome to use the plane of the Earth's orbit, which is 23.5 degrees different. Or the plane of Sun's orbit around the Galaxy, which is again different. Or the plane of the Galaxy.

    You get the idea. There's no preferred direction. There's also nothing different about radio waves, etc. that could be used to specify one.

    - Warren
  4. Oct 9, 2009 #3
    hey thanks for replying. so the cosmos really does not have a preferred direction, does it? but why is that so? i've looked over the net and find this article http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc97/4_26_97/fob1.asp

    Is there any truth to that? Thank you.
  5. Oct 10, 2009 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    That article is 12 years old. There have been no replications since then.
  6. Oct 11, 2009 #5


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    The CMB is as close to a reference frame as it gets. Earth moves around 600km/sec relative to that, otherwise nothing going.
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