
CosmoCoffee

Authors:  Scott Burles, Saul Rappaport 
Abstract:  The motion of the solar system barycenter with respect to the cosmic
microwave background (CMB) induces a very large apparent dipole component into
the CMB brightness map at the 3 mK level. In this Letter we discuss another
kinematic effect of our motion through the CMB: the small shift in apparent
angular positions due to the aberration of light. The aberration angles are
only of order beta ~0.001, but this leads to a potentially measurable
compression (expansion) of the spatial scale in the hemisphere toward (away
from) our motion through the CMB. In turn, this will shift the peaks in the
acoustic power spectrum of the CMB by a factor of order 1 +/ beta. For current
CMB missions, and even those in the foreseeable future, this effect is small,
but should be taken into account. In principle, if the acoustic peak locations
were not limited by sampling noise (i.e., the cosmic variance), this effect
could be used to determine the cosmic contribution to the dipole term. 

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Antony Lewis
Joined: 23 Sep 2004 Posts: 1309 Affiliation: University of Sussex

Posted: January 26 2006 


This paper discusses angular aberration of the CMB (well known; see also astroph/0112457, a reference the authors seem to have missed). If an observer moves with respect to the CMB they see a dipolelike rotation of angles on the sky, leading to a magnification and demagnification in opposite hemispheres.
As it happens I've also been thinking about this the last week. Two points:
* Gravitational lensing of the CMB in general has a dipole convergence which is exactly the same as lowest order abberation; if you want to measure the primordial dipole (in principle) you have to get round this.
* I believe you can show that the frame in which the kinetic aberration vanishes is the same frame as the one in which the kinetic contribution to the dipole CMB vanishes, and coincides with the Newtonian Gauge (in linear theory). This seems to be an interesting physical identification of the CMB frame with the Newtonian gauge. 

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