Copernicus, among many others, was a crucial part of that alchemical "transmutation of consciousness" that occurred during the Early Enlightenment, arguing, as we all know, that the Sun and other planets and stars did not revolve around the Earth. At the very beginning of his treatise, he even paid a little tribute to the Hermetica, a point not lost on other late Renaissance/Early Enlightenment figures such as Giordano Bruno.
As science and technology have expanded, scientists have gradually come to see that the Universe(or at least what we can see of it), is oddly "clumped," with clusters of galaxies, rather than the random distribution of galaxies one might expect along conventional views of Big Bang theory. It's as if the data was suggesting that the Big Bang was some kind of "shaped charge." But wait, there's more, for now that "galactic clumping" seems to be revealing even deeper cosmic structure, one that has suggested to some scientists that Earth is, indeed, at some sort of "cosmic center", which, because of its deeply "theory shattering" nature, astrophysicists are dubbing "the axis of evil", since it so radically challenges and overturns some of the cardinal assumptions of astrophysics thus far:
Now there's a lot to absorb here, so let's break it down: 1) there is a kind of "cosmological" or better, "cosmic axis" structure; and (2) this structure is aligned to the plane of the ecliptic of the Earth-Sun solar system and (3) this structure is revealed by the distribution of "hot" and "cold" zones of the background radiation, which zones appear to be correlated to the Earth-Sun solar system ecliptic:
"Without getting overly technical, the Copernican and cosmological principles require that any variation in the radiation from the CMB be more or less randomly distributed throughout the universe, especially on large scales. Results from the WMAP satellite (early 2000s) indicated that when looking at large scales of the universe, the noise could be partitioned into “hot” and “cold” sections, and this partitioning is aligned with our ecliptic plane and equinoxes. This partitioning and alignment resulted in an axis through the universe, which scientists dubbed “the axis of evil”, because of the damage it does to their theories. This axis passes right through our tiny portion of the universe. Laurence Krauss commented in 2005:
“ But when you look at [the cosmic microwave background] map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That’s crazy. We’re looking out at the whole universe. There’s no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.”
Now, while this may or may not be good news for physicists inclined toward some version of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, it does pose a significant problem, and already - as the article itself avers - some physicists see the need for "a new physics," while the article itself concludes with its own tongue-in-cheek barb against current cosmological physics:
"The question is ‘what will modern science do now’? Will they invent additional parameters to keep the current theories alive (in addition to those already added: dark matter, dark energy, redshift as expansion, big bang inflation, etc.) or will they consider the possibility that we are in a special place as observations clearly indicate?"
A brief word about those barbs may be in order: if one goes back to the fundamental cosmological assumption of modern physics - the Big Bang - then one should expect a more or equal, or "isotropic" distribution of matter in the observed universe, rather than the structure that has come to be seen in the past few decades, with "clumps" or "galactic clusters" (I've always preferred some sort of "little thump" theory, which would reconcile some aspects of Big Bang and observation: after all, if one thumps something, there is a center from which the thump's waves emerge, and matter might clump around those wave-like troughs. Such a "little thump" could also be made to correlate rather neatly with these new findings... but that's another long story). In any case, the Big Bang cosmology is a kind of implication or legacy of General relativity, and thus, as observations pile up seemingly in contradiction to the great Einsteinian doctrine, "patches" have been added, to which the concluding paragraph of the article alludes: dark Matter, dark energy, and so on. But as the article also makes clear, some astrophycists are (finally) seeing the handwriting on the wall, and recognizing the need for "a new physics."
So much for the hair-brained high octane scientific speculation. Now for the really hair-brained high octane speculation: Suppose, for a moment, that there are "Others" out there, fully aware of this structure, and with the technology to get from "There" to "Another There," and suppose, for a moment, that they're in our local celestial neighborhood. "They" would surely be aware of this structure, and so would any Other Others with similar capabilities. After all, we supposedly do not have the technology to get from Here, to There (unless one believes Ben Rich), and yet even in our backwardness, we are now aware of this strange cosmic structure that, oddly, puts us smack in the center of that "axis of evil." So such "Others" would inevitably realize that this little solar system, a backwater on the edges of an average galaxy, is somehow like some sort of cosmological Germany, sitting smack dab in the middle of a cosmic "Europe"... it would be, therefore, a place of strategic and commercial interest. The scientists, in other words, might also have to start talking (if they are not already doing so in private), of "cosmopolitics" or "astropolitics"... In short, the game may just have become very interesting.
See you on the flip side.