skip to main content


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Bernardi, Gianni"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. ABSTRACT

    Quasars at redshifts z > 6 are an excellent probe of the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. The population of radio-luminous quasars is of particular interest, as such quasars could potentially be used to study the neutral intergalactic medium during cosmic reionization via H i 21 cm absorption studies. However, the lack of deep radio observations of z > 6 quasars leaves the population poorly constrained, and suitable candidates for an H i 21 cm absorption study have yet to be found. In this work, we present Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) 1–2 GHz radio continuum observations of 138 quasars at redshifts 6.0 ≤ z < 7.6. We detect the radio continuum emission of the z = 6.1 quasar J1034−1425, with a 1.6 GHz flux density of $170\pm 36\, \mu$Jy. This quasar is radio-quiet with radio-loudness, R ≡ f5 GHz/fν, 4400 Å = 2.4 ± 0.5. In addition, we detect seven other quasars at z > 6, which have previously been characterized in the literature at these frequencies. Using the full sample, we estimate the radio-loud fraction to be $3.8^{+6.2}_{-2.4}\ \hbox{per cent}$, where the uncertainties are 95 per cent confidence intervals. This is lower than recent estimates of the radio-loud fraction in the literature, but is still marginally consistent with no redshift evolution of the radio-loud fraction. We explore the undetected quasar population by stacking their continuum images at their optical positions and obtain a median stacked flux density of 13.8 ± 3.9 µJy and luminosity of log L5 GHz/(W Hz−1) = 24.2 ± 0.1.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    This paper presents the design and deployment of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) phase II system. HERA is designed as a staged experiment targeting 21 cm emission measurements of the Epoch of Reionization. First results from the phase I array are published as of early 2022, and deployment of the phase II system is nearing completion. We describe the design of the phase II system and discuss progress on commissioning and future upgrades. As HERA is a designated Square Kilometre Array pathfinder instrument, we also show a number of “case studies” that investigate systematics seen while commissioning the phase II system, which may be of use in the design and operation of future arrays. Common pathologies are likely to manifest in similar ways across instruments, and many of these sources of contamination can be mitigated once the source is identified.

     
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    We present MeqSilhouette v2.0 (MeqSv2), a fully polarimetric, time-and frequency-resolved synthetic data generation software for simulating millimetre (mm) wavelength very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations with heterogeneous arrays. Synthetic data are a critical component in understanding real observations, testing calibration and imaging algorithms, and predicting performance metrics of existing or proposed sites. MeqSv2 applies physics-based instrumental and atmospheric signal corruptions constrained by empirically derived site and station parameters to the data. The new version is capable of applying instrumental polarization effects and various other spectrally resolved effects using the Radio Interferometry Measurement Equation (RIME) formalism and produces synthetic data compatible with calibration pipelines designed to process real data. We demonstrate the various corruption capabilities of MeqSv2 using different arrays, with a focus on the effect of complex bandpass gains on closure quantities for the EHT at 230 GHz. We validate the frequency-dependent polarization leakage implementation by performing polarization self-calibration of synthetic EHT data using PolSolve. We also note the potential applications for cm-wavelength VLBI array analysis and design and future directions.

     
    more » « less
  4. ABSTRACT

    To mitigate the effects of Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) on the data analysis pipelines of 21 cm interferometric instruments, numerous inpaint techniques have been developed. In this paper, we examine the qualitative and quantitative errors introduced into the visibilities and power spectrum due to inpainting. We perform our analysis on simulated data as well as real data from the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) Phase 1 upper limits. We also introduce a convolutional neural network that is capable of inpainting RFI corrupted data. We train our network on simulated data and show that our network is capable of inpainting real data without requiring to be retrained. We find that techniques that incorporate high wavenumbers in delay space in their modelling are best suited for inpainting over narrowband RFI. We show that with our fiducial parameters discrete prolate spheroidal sequences (dpss) and clean provide the best performance for intermittent RFI while Gaussian progress regression (gpr) and least squares spectral analysis (lssa) provide the best performance for larger RFI gaps. However, we caution that these qualitative conclusions are sensitive to the chosen hyperparameters of each inpainting technique. We show that all inpainting techniques reliably reproduce foreground dominated modes in the power spectrum. Since the inpainting techniques should not be capable of reproducing noise realizations, we find that the largest errors occur in the noise dominated delay modes. We show that as the noise level of the data comes down, clean and dpss are most capable of reproducing the fine frequency structure in the visibilities.

     
    more » « less
  5. ABSTRACT

    Combining the visibilities measured by an interferometer to form a cosmological power spectrum is a complicated process. In a delay-based analysis, the mapping between instrumental and cosmological space is not a one-to-one relation. Instead, neighbouring modes contribute to the power measured at one point, with their respective contributions encoded in the window functions. To better understand the power measured by an interferometer, we assess the impact of instrument characteristics and analysis choices on these window functions. Focusing on the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) as a case study, we find that long-baseline observations correspond to enhanced low-k tails of the window functions, which facilitate foreground leakage, whilst an informed choice of bandwidth and frequency taper can reduce said tails. With simple test cases and realistic simulations, we show that, apart from tracing mode mixing, the window functions help accurately reconstruct the power spectrum estimator of simulated visibilities. The window functions depend strongly on the beam chromaticity and less on its spatial structure – a Gaussian approximation, ignoring side lobes, is sufficient. Finally, we investigate the potential of asymmetric window functions, down-weighting the contribution of low-k power to avoid foreground leakage. The window functions presented here correspond to the latest HERA upper limits for the full Phase I data. They allow an accurate reconstruction of the power spectrum measured by the instrument and will be used in future analyses to confront theoretical models and data directly in cylindrical space.

     
    more » « less
  6. ABSTRACT

    Radio interferometers aiming to measure the power spectrum of the redshifted 21 cm line during the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) need to achieve an unprecedented dynamic range to separate the weak signal from overwhelming foreground emissions. Calibration inaccuracies can compromise the sensitivity of these measurements to the effect that a detection of the EoR is precluded. An alternative to standard analysis techniques makes use of the closure phase, which allows one to bypass antenna-based direction-independent calibration. Similarly to standard approaches, we use a delay spectrum technique to search for the EoR signal. Using 94 nights of data observed with Phase I of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), we place approximate constraints on the 21 cm power spectrum at z = 7.7. We find at 95 per cent confidence that the 21 cm EoR brightness temperature is ≤(372)2 ‘pseudo’ mK2 at 1.14 ‘pseudo’ h Mpc−1, where the ‘pseudo’ emphasizes that these limits are to be interpreted as approximations to the actual distance scales and brightness temperatures. Using a fiducial EoR model, we demonstrate the feasibility of detecting the EoR with the full array. Compared to standard methods, the closure phase processing is relatively simple, thereby providing an important independent check on results derived using visibility intensities, or related.

     
    more » « less
  7. ABSTRACT

    We present a Bayesian jackknife test for assessing the probability that a data set contains biased subsets, and, if so, which of the subsets are likely to be biased. The test can be used to assess the presence and likely source of statistical tension between different measurements of the same quantities in an automated manner. Under certain broadly applicable assumptions, the test is analytically tractable. We also provide an open-source code, chiborg, that performs both analytic and numerical computations of the test on general Gaussian-distributed data. After exploring the information theoretical aspects of the test and its performance with an array of simulations, we apply it to data from the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) to assess whether different sub-seasons of observing can justifiably be combined to produce a deeper 21 cm power spectrum upper limit. We find that, with a handful of exceptions, the HERA data in question are statistically consistent and this decision is justified. We conclude by pointing out the wide applicability of this test, including to CMB experiments and the H0 tension.

     
    more » « less
  8. null (Ed.)
  9. Abstract

    We report the most sensitive upper limits to date on the 21 cm epoch of reionization power spectrum using 94 nights of observing with Phase I of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA). Using similar analysis techniques as in previously reported limits, we find at 95% confidence that Δ2(k= 0.34hMpc−1) ≤ 457 mK2atz= 7.9 and that Δ2(k= 0.36hMpc−1) ≤ 3496 mK2atz= 10.4, an improvement by a factor of 2.1 and 2.6, respectively. These limits are mostly consistent with thermal noise over a wide range ofkafter our data quality cuts, despite performing a relatively conservative analysis designed to minimize signal loss. Our results are validated with both statistical tests on the data and end-to-end pipeline simulations. We also report updated constraints on the astrophysics of reionization and the cosmic dawn. Using multiple independent modeling and inference techniques previously employed by HERA Collaboration, we find that the intergalactic medium must have been heated above the adiabatic cooling limit at least as early asz= 10.4, ruling out a broad set of so-called “cold reionization” scenarios. If this heating is due to high-mass X-ray binaries during the cosmic dawn, as is generally believed, our result’s 99% credible interval excludes the local relationship between soft X-ray luminosity and star formation and thus requires heating driven by evolved low-metallicity stars.

     
    more » « less