What if Planck's Universe isn't flat?
081301 - ?
Phys. Rev. D
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Inflationary theory predicts that the observable Universe should be very close to flat, with a spatial-curvature parameter |Omega_K| < 10^-4. The WMAP satellite currently constrains |Omega_K| < 0.01, and the Planck satellite will be sensitive to values near 10^-3. Suppose that Planck were to find Omega_K to be non-zero at this level. Would this necessarily be a serious problem for inflation? We argue that an apparent departure from flatness could be due either to a local (wavelength comparable to the observable horizon) inhomogeneity, or a truly superhorizon departure from flatness. If there is a local inhomogeneity, then secondary CMB anisotropies distort the CMB frequency spectrum at a level potentially detectable by a next-generation experiment. We discuss how these spectral distortions would complement constraints on the Grishchuk-Zel'dovich effect from the CMB power spectrum at large angular scales in discovering the source of the departure from flatness.
AuthorsBull, P; Kamionkowski, M
- Physics and Astronomy