Cosmic Radiation and Frame of Reference
Name: John Z.
Recent discoveries suggest the cosmic background
radiation is 'hotter' in one direction and 'cooler' in the opposite
direction. the interpretation I read is that this is due to the earth's
Does that establish an absolute frame of reference for the universe?
(doesn't this contradict the theory of relativity?)
I heard that the radio frequency background is "lumpy", I have not heard
that it was hotter in one direction than some other. I do not even know how
it would be possible to establish and absolute direction, since "direction"
implies "with respect to some frame of reference". To my knowledge the
theory of relativity is still alive and well.
A philosophical point -- Even if there were such a discovery, the proponents
would have to come up with an explanation, not only for that particular
observation, but also an explanation for all of the very numerous phenomena
that the theory of relativity correctly explained and all the observations
that the theory of relativity predicted even prior to the experiment being
A physical theory is different from a mathematical theorem. A mathematical
theorem can be proven false (or incomplete) by showing a single valid
example where the conclusion does not follow (assuming the logic is proper)
from the postulates. A physical theory continues to gain validity as its
predictions are verified by increasingly diverse and accurate observations.
The theory of relativity has a pretty good track record.
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Update: June 2012