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Evidence of a birefringent universe and an Aquila connection?

  1. Apr 17, 2007 #1
    Two separate and independent means of observation have shown indications that the universe may have an axis of symmetry:

    Axis of evil' a cause for cosmic concern.
    13 April 2007
    Zeeya Merali

    One of the observational methods, by detection of the polarization of light from distant galaxies, mirrors earlier observations of Ralston and Nodland:

    Is the Universe Birefringent?
    "To be more specific, we found that the rate of rotation depends on
    the angle between the direction of travel of the wave and a fixed
    direction in space, pointing approximately toward the constellation
    Sextans from Earth. The more parallel the direction of travel of the
    wave is with this fixed direction, the greater the rotation. The
    amount of rotation is also proportional to the distance of travel of
    the wave. These are the only two dependencies of the rotation.
    "The curious effect is illustrated in the diagram above. In this
    diagram, Earth is at the center, and the direction toward Sextans is
    represented by a red "anisotropy axis.'' The axis extends from Earth
    toward Sextans in one direction, and toward the constellation Aquila
    in the opposite direction. A plane-polarized radio wave emitted by
    Galaxy A (green) travels toward Earth in a direction almost parallel
    to the anisotropy axis (red). On the other hand, a plane-polarized
    radio wave emitted by Galaxy B (blue) approaches Earth in a direction
    almost perpendicular to the anisotropy axis."

    Anisotropy in Electromagnetic Interactions.

    One explanation of this effect is that of a rotating universe:

    Polarized Space
    Is the Universe Rotating?
    " In 1997, Borge Nodland and John Ralston found in their analysis of astronomical polarization data that the universe had an optical axis: it was circularly birefringent! The universe appeared to behave in a similar way as a crystal with optical activity: it rotated the polarization direction of linearly polarized light! This cosmic "quartz crystal" had an optical axis parallel to the direction Aquila-Earth-Sextans [1]. Is the universe birefringent? Is the universe rotating?
    ' . . . It is interesting to note that the constellation Sextans stands for the sextant, the ancient navigational instrument by which seafarers would orient themselves. Aquila, by the way, is the messenger from Heaven - the mythological Eagle leading souls to immortality' Borge Nodland"

    These earlier observations of Ralston and Nodland were widely discounted but the recent observations may support them. According to Ralston and Nodland this axis is through the line through the Aquila and Sextans constellations. The question is do the recent observations also show the axis to be in the same direction?

    Arthur C. Clarke noticed another curious feature of the constellation Aquila. There have been an inordinate number of novae detected in that direction:

    Trouble in Aquila
    By Arthur C. Clarke
    Cosmic Search Vol. 1, No. 1
    "According to Norton's Star Atlas, there have been twenty fairly bright novae between 1899 and 1936. No less than five of them have been in one small area of the sky, in the constellation Aquila. There were two in a single year (1936), and the 1918 Nova Aquila was one of the brightest ever recorded.
    "What's going on in this constellation? Why did 25 percent of the novae in a forty-year period appear in only 0.25 percent of the sky? Is the front line moving in our direction?"

    On the space bbs Habitablezone.com this has been attributed to only a selection effect:

    Space Sciences
    Trouble in Aquila - a mystery solved?
    Posted by ER on 2/19/2007 10:23:22 AM

    Clarke made this observation in the 1960's. It would be interesting to find out if this unusual clustering still holds with more recently detected novae.

    One of the confriming observations of the WMAP data is remarkable in itself if confirmed:

    'Axis of evil' a cause for cosmic concern
    13 April 2007
    Zeeya Merali
    "Now, two independent studies seem to confirm that it does exist. Damien Hutsemékers of the University of Liège in Belgium analysed the polarisation of light from 355 quasars and found that as the quasars get near the axis, the polarisation becomes more ordered than expected. Taken together, the polarisation angles from the quasars seem to corkscrew around the axis.
    "This is really promising," says Hinshaw. "Cosmologists should sit up and take notice."
    "Cosmologist Carlo Contaldi of Imperial College London is intrigued, but thinks more quasars should be analysed before drawing conclusions. "There is a danger that once people know about the axis of evil, they start seeing evil in all sorts of sets of data," he says.
    "The quasar finding has support from another study, however. Michael Longo of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor analysed 1660 spiral galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and found that the axes of rotation of most galaxies appear to line up with the axis of evil (www.arxiv.org/astro-ph/0703325). According to Longo, the probability of this happening by chance is less than 0.4 per cent. "This suggests the axis is real, and not simply an error in the WMAP data,' he says."]"

    This seems to be saying that the axes through the centers of most spiral galaxies are all aligned in the same direction. If so, this would be remarkable that this wasn't noticed before.
    Anyone know if the paper of Michael Longo really does suggest this?

    Bob Clark
  2. jcsd
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