Statistical isotropy violation in WMAP CMB maps resulting from non-circular beams
IUCAA, PO Bag 4, Ganeshkhind, 411007 Pune, India
Received: 8 May 2014
Accepted: 21 April 2016
Statistical isotropy (SI) of cosmic microwave background (CMB) fluctuations is a key observational test to validate the cosmological principle underlying the standard model of cosmology. While a detection of SI violation would have immense cosmological ramification, it is important to recognise their possible origin in systematic effects of observations. The WMAP seven year (WMAP-7) release claimed significant deviation from SI in the bipolar spherical harmonic (BipoSH) coefficients All20 and Al-2l20>. Here we present the first explicit reproduction of the measurements reported in WMAP-7, confirming that beam systematics alone can completely account for the measured SI violation. The possibility of such a systematic origin was alluded to in WMAP-7 paper itself and other authors but not as explicitly so as to account for it accurately. We simulate CMB maps using the actual WMAP non-circular beams and scanning strategy. Our estimated BipoSH spectra from these maps match the WMAP-7 results very well. It is also evident that only a very careful and adequately detailed modelling, as carried out here, can conclusively establish that the entire signal arises from non-circular beam effect. This is important since cosmic SI violation signals are expected to be subtle and dismissing a large SI violation signal as observational artefact based on simplistic plausibility arguments run the serious risk of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”.
Key words: cosmic background radiation / cosmology: observations / methods: data analysis
© ESO, 2016