Verschuur shrugs off the interpretation, saying that astronomers can analyzed the data and then stop when, "they find what they are looking for.
Cosmologists have also said that Verschuur's claim needs a detailed statistical analysis. But Verschuur is equally dismissive: "astronomers who study interstellar structure do not use statistics to show associations between different forms of matter ... they go by what the data look like."
Astrophysicists Kate Land and Anze Slosar conducted an analysis of Verschuur's study that was published in the Dec. 10, 2007, edition of The Astrophysical Journal. In an email to Wired, they concluded that Verschuur's correlation of the radio emissions from nearby hydrogen and the WMAP data was nothing more than a coincidence.
"Notoriously, by eye, one can often think they see correlations between patterns," Land told Wired. "But one doesn't really see the anti-correlations. So two maps (of the sky) that just fluctuate randomly can appear correlated."
This wouldn't be the first time that random fluctuations in the CMB have led researchers to claim that they have seen patterns, only for their claims to be refuted and found flawed.