Research NewsPhysics

Doubts Greet Claim of Cosmic Axis

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Science  25 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5312, pp. 530
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5312.530

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The extraordinary claim that space itself might have an overall orientation is unlikely to be correct, say many physicists and astronomers. Aired last week amid a barrage of university press releases that culminated in front-page newspaper headlines, the claim was based on unaccountable differences in the way radio waves seem to propagate to Earth from galaxies at different spots in the sky. But other researchers say the claim is based on outdated observations and assumptions.