Boomerang Returns Unexpectedly
Experimental study of the anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) is gathering momentum. The eagerly awaited Boomerang results have lived up to expectations. They provide convincing evidence in favor of the standard paradigm: the Universe is close to flat and with primordial fluctuations which are redolent of inflation. Further scrutiny reveals something even more exciting however -- two hints that there may be some unforeseen physical effects. Firstly the primary acoustic peak
... acoustic peak appears at slightly larger scales than expected. Although this may be explicable through a combination of mundane effects, we suggest it is also prudent to consider the possibility that the Universe might be marginally closed. The other hint is provided by a second peak which appears less prominent than expected. This may indicate one of a number of possibilities, including increased damping length or tilted initial conditions, but also breaking of coherence or features in the initial power spectrum. Further data should test whether the current concordance model needs only to be tweaked, or to be enhanced in some fundamental way.