Circles in the sky: Finding topology with the microwave background radiation

Neil J. Cornish, David N. Spergel, Glenn D. Starkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations

Abstract

If the universe is finite and smaller than the distance to the surface of last scatter, then the signature of the topology of the universe is writ large on the microwave background sky. We show that the microwave background will be identified at the intersections of the surface of last scattering as seen by different 'copies' of the observer. Since the surface of last scattering is a 2-sphere, these intersections will be circles, regardless of the background geometry or topology. We therefore propose a statistic that is sensitive to all small, locally homogeneous topologies. Here, small means that the distance to the surface of last scatter is smaller than the 'topology scale' of the universe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2657-2670
Number of pages14
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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