Fr.: indice multipolaire
A variable used in → spherical harmonic expansions. Each spherical harmonic is characterized by its multipole index l: l = 0 for a → monopole, l = 1 for a → dipole, and so on. It is used in particular to describe the → cosmic microwave background anisotropy: ΔT/T0 (θ,φ) = Σ almYlm(θ,φ), where θ and φ are the → spherical polar coordinates, Ylm is the → spherical harmonic functions, and the sum runs over l = 1, 2, ..., ∞ and m = -l, ..., l, where the multipole index l corresponds to angular scales ≅ 180°/l.