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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Looking for a varying α in the cosmic microwave background

P. P. Avelino, C. J. A. P. Martins, G. Rocha, P. T. P. Viana

We perform a likelihood analysis of the recently released BOOMERanG and MAXIMA data, allowing for the possibility of a time-varying fine-structure constant. We find that in general these data prefer a value of α that was smaller in the past (which is in agreement with measurements of α from quasar observations). However, there are some interesting degeneracies in the problem which imply that strong statements about α cannot be made using this method until independent accurate determinations of Ωbh2 and H0 are available. We also show that a preferred lower value of α comes mainly from the data points around the first Doppler peak, whereas the main effect of the high-l data points is to increase the preferred value for Ωbh2 (while also tightening the constraints on Ω0 and H0). We comment on some implications of our results.

Physical Review D
Volume D62, Page 123508
December 2000

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

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