Cosmic Topology I: Limits on Orientable Euclidean Manifolds from Circle Searches

Pip Petersen, Yashar Akrami, Craig J. Copi, Andrew H. Jaffe, Arthur Kosowsky, Glenn D. Starkman, Andrius Tamosiunas, Johannes R. Eskilt, Özenç Güngör, Samanta Saha, Quinn Taylor

Submitted on 4 November 2022, last revised on 22 November 2022


The Einstein field equations of general relativity constrain the local curvature at every point in spacetime, but say nothing about the global topology of the Universe. Cosmic microwave background anisotropies have proven to be the most powerful probe of non-trivial topology since, within ΛCDM, these anisotropies have well-characterized statistical properties, the signal is principally from a thin spherical shell centered on the observer (the last scattering surface), and space-based observations nearly cover the full sky. The most generic signature of cosmic topology in the microwave background is pairs of circles with matching temperature and polarization patterns. No such circle pairs have been seen above noise in the WMAP or Planck temperature data, implying that the shortest non-contractible loop around the Universe through our location is longer than 98.5% of the comoving diameter of the last scattering surface. We translate this generic constraint into limits on the parameters that characterize manifolds with each of the nine possible non-trivial orientable Euclidean topologies, and provide a code which computes these constraints. In all but the simplest cases, the shortest non-contractible loop in the space can avoid us, and be shorter than the diameter of the last scattering surface by a factor ranging from 2 to at least 6. This result implies that a broader range of manifolds is observationally allowed than widely appreciated.Probing these manifolds will require more subtle statistical signatures than matched circles, such as off-diagonal correlations of harmonic coefficients.


Comment: 21 pages, 7 figures. v2: formatting changes

Subjects: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology; High Energy Physics - Phenomenology; High Energy Physics - Theory


A representation of a section of the \E{4} covering space with parameter values $L_A = 2$ and $L_B = 0.95$ in units of $L_{\mathrm{LSS}}$, the comoving diameter of the last scattering surface. Observers who see matching circles are in red, and observers who do not see circles are in blue. The solid black lines represents two potential ``associated \E{1}'s'', depending on the choice of origin. The fraction of points in any associated \E{1} is equal, and in this case both \E{1} representations have a fraction of points allowed at 0.91.