Several anomalies appear to be present in the large-angle cosmic microwave background anisotropy maps of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, including the alignment of large-scale multipoles. Models in which isotropy is spontaneously broken (e.g., by a scalar field) have been proposed as explanations for these anomalies, as have models in which a preferred direction is imposed during inflation. We examine models inspired by these, in which isotropy is broken by a multiplicative factor with dipole and/or quadrupole terms. We evaluate the evidence provided by the multipole alignment using a Bayesian framework, finding that the evidence in favor of the model is generally weak. We also compute approximate changes in estimated cosmological parameters in the broken-isotropy models. Only the overall normalization of the power spectrum is modified significantly.

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Copyright © 2010 The American Physical Society. This article first appeared in Physical Review D 82, no. 6 (September 30, 2010): 063533-1-63533-11. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.82.063533.

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