Journal Article

A low cosmic microwave background variance in the <i>Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe</i> data

C. Monteserín, R. B. Barreiro, P. Vielva, E. Martínez-González, M. P. Hobson and A. N. Lasenby

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 1, pages 209-219
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
A low cosmic microwave background variance in the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe data

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We have estimated the cosmic microwave background (CMB) variance from the three-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) data, finding a value which is significantly lower than the one expected from Gaussian simulations using the WMAP best-fitting cosmological model, at a significance level of 98.7 per cent. This result is even more prominent if we consider only the North ecliptic hemisphere (99.8 per cent). Different analyses have been performed in order to identify a possible origin for this anomaly. In particular, we have studied the behaviour of single-radiometer and single-year data as well as the effect of residual foregrounds and 1/f noise, finding that none of these possibilities can explain the low value of the variance. We have also tested the effect of varying the cosmological parameters, finding that the estimated CMB variance tends to favour higher values of ns than the one of the WMAP best-fitting model. In addition, we have also tested the consistency between the estimated CMB variance and the actual measured CMB power spectrum of the WMAP data, finding a strong discrepancy. A possible interpretation of this result could be a deviation from Gaussianity and/or isotropy of the CMB.

Keywords: methods: data analysis; methods: statistical; cosmic microwave background

Journal Article.  9291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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