Letter | Published:

Velocity of the Earth with Respect to the Cosmic Background Radiation

Nature volume 222, pages 971972 (07 June 1969) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THE discovery of the 3 K background radiation has provided a new tool for studying the universe. The radiation exhibits a black-body spectrum over a frequency range of 280 to 1 (ref. 1) and is highly isotropic2–4, which supports the hypothesis that the radiation was produced at an early stage in the expansion of the universe. If this is correct, the radiation defines an extremely distant reference frame—that of the matter which last scattered it5. If the Earth has a total velocity v with respect to this frame, there will be an apparent excess of radiation in the direction of motion6 of magnitude (v/c) cos θ. Preliminary experimental results at Stanford show a definite excess with this kind of angular variation. Assuming that intrinsic anisotropy of this type is negligible, a large value for the Earth's motion is indicated in addition to rotation around the galaxy.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Radio Astronomy Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

    • E. K. CONKLIN

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/222971a0

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