Dipoles in the Sky

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The standard cosmological model posits that the universe is homogeneous and statistically isotropic on its largest scales. However, there is no fundamental reason why these properties have to hold, and in fact they can be broken due to interesting new physics. Moreover, there is some evidence from recent WMAP observations for 'anomalies' - including departures from statistical isotropy - on the largest observable scales. Large-scale structure (LSS) - including the distribution of galaxies in the universe - presents a new frontier in testing statistical isotropy and homogeneity, and we are entering an epoch with orders-of-magnitude improvement in the statistics of LSS. In this talk I first review general tests of statistical isotropy using LSS. I then describe results from research done in collaboration with my student Cameron Gibelyou on testing aspects of the statistical isotropy - in particular, dipolar modulations of the galaxy counts - using existing LSS surveys.