Another new paper, just posted today:
"Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in the radio sky"?
This one is highly interesting, since it is based not on any new observations from Planck, but instead on an entirely unrelated statistical analysis of one of the oldest and most widely used catalogues of radio sources.
The paper shows that the data has been staring us in the face for decades!
It was in the process of looking at the data in a new way that the astonishing result "falls out":
arXiv:1305.4134v1 [astro-ph.CO] 17 May 2013
"Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources5,6,7. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
"Copernican principle states that earth does not have any eminent or privileged position
in the universe and therefore an observer’s choice of origin and/or orientation of his/her coordinate system should have no bearing on the appearance of the distant universe. Its natural generalization is the cosmological principle that the universe on a sufficiently large scale should appear homogeneous and isotropic, with no preferred directions, to all observers. However to us on earth the universe does show heterogeneous structures up to the scale of superclusters of galaxies and somewhat beyond, but it is assumed that it will all appear homogeneous and isotropic when observed on still larger scales, perhaps beyond a couple of hundreds of megaparsecs. Radio galaxies and quasars, the most distant dis- crete objects (at distances of many gigaparsecs or further) seen in the universe should trace the distribution of matter in the universe at that large scale and should therefore appear isotropically distributed from any vantage point in the universe including that on earth. One of the earliest and best studied source of radio galaxies and quasars is the 3CRR (3rd Cambridge twice revised) catalogue5,6,7, which is radio complete in the sense that all ra- dio sources brighter than a certain sensitive limit are included and also it has complete optical identification content with detailed optical spectra to classify radio sources in to radio galaxies and quasars. The catalogue with the latest updates is downloadable from https://www.astrosci.ca/users/willottc/3crr/3crr.html.