Frequentist comparison of CMB local extrema statistics in the five-year WMAP data with two anisotropic cosmological models

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics – Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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10 pages, 4 figures, 3 tables, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Scientific paper

10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15866.x

We present local extrema studies of two models that introduce a preferred direction into the observed cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature field. In particular, we make a frequentist comparison of the one- and two-point statistics for the dipole modulation and ACW models with data from the five-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). This analysis is motivated by previously revealed anomalies in the WMAP data, and particularly the difference in the statistical nature of the temperature anisotropies when analysed in hemispherical partitions. The analysis of the one-point statistics indicates that the previously determined hemispherical variance difficulties can be apparently overcome by a dipole modulation field, but new inconsistencies arise if the mean and the l-dependence of the statistics are considered. The two-point correlation functions of the local extrema, the temperature pair product and the point-point spatial pair-count, demonstrate that the impact of such a modulation is to over-`asymmetrise' the temperature field on smaller scales than the wave-length of the dipole or quadrupole, and this is disfavored by the observed data.The results from the ACW model predictions, however, are consistent with the standard isotropic hypothesis. The two-point analysis confirms that the impact of this type of violation of isotropy on the temperature extrema statistics is relatively weak. From this work, we conclude that a model with more spatial structure than the dipole modulated or rotational-invariance breaking models are required to fully explain the observed large-scale anomalies in the WMAP data.

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