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It's supposed to be the "gold standard" of evidence supporting the standard model of cosmology – including dark matter, dark energy and the exponential expansion after the big bang known as inflation.
But could it be wrong? Might misleading measurements by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) have been leading us towards the wrong theory of cosmology? One astrophysicist thinks so, and he says the planet Jupiter is to blame
Now Shanks and his PhD student Utane Sawangwit have recalibrated the data using objects such as radio galaxies observed by WMAP that also emit microwaves. The result is a spectrum that is compatible with a host of theories that the WMAP team claims to have ruled out. For example, one-dimensional cosmic strings – defects in the fabric of space-time – or modified laws of gravity might explain the clumping of matter that is currently attributed to the dark matter and dark energy of the standard model. "If we're right, that would be incredibly important for cosmology,"
The WMAP team isn't taking the challenge lying down. They claim that the radio sources observed by WMAP coincide with spots of the sky where the temperature is slightly higher, making the calibration inaccurate. "We're happy to defend WMAP,"
Since when is there any theory in science that is cast in stone? True science is a hypothesis and is in a constant sate of flux but when that flux starts to solidify at the behest of a group of scientists then it is no more science, merely big ego....