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  1. ABSTRACT

    We explore how chromatic radio frequency interference (RFI) flags affect 21-cm power spectrum measurements. We particularly study flags that are coarser than the analysis resolution. We find that such RFI flags produce excess power in the EoR window in much the same way as residual RFI. We use Fast Holographic Deconvolution (fhd) simulations to explain this as a result of chromatic disruptions in the interferometric sampling function of the array. We also use these simulations in conjunction with Error Propagated Power Spectrum with InterLeaved Observed Noise to show that without modifying current flagging strategies or implementing extremely accurate and complete foreground subtraction, 21-cm EoR experiments will fail to make a significant detection. As a mitigation strategy, we find that circumventing the chromatic structure altogether by flagging the entire analysis band when RFI is detected is simple to implement and highly successful. This demands a detection strategy with a low false-positive rate in order to prevent excessive data loss.

  2. ABSTRACT

    We present a broad-band map of polarized diffuse emission at 167–198 MHz developed from data from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). The map is designed to improve visibility simulation and precision calibration for 21 cm Epoch of Reionization (EoR) experiments. It covers a large swath – 11 000 sq. deg. – of the Southern hemisphere sky in all four Stokes parameters and captures emission on angular scales of 1–9°. The band-averaged diffuse structure is pre-dominantly unpolarized but has significant linearly polarized structure near RA  = 0 h. We evaluate the accuracy of the map by combining it with the GLEAM catalogue and simulating an observation from the MWA, demonstrating that the accuracy of the short baselines (6.1–50 wavelengths) now approaches the accuracy of the longer baselines typically used for EoR calibration. We discuss how to use the map for visibility simulation for a variety of interferometric arrays. The map has potential to improve calibration accuracy for experiments such as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array as well as the MWA.

  3. ABSTRACT Calibration precision is currently a limiting systematic in 21 cm cosmology experiments. While there are innumerable calibration approaches, most can be categorized as either ‘sky-based,’ relying on an extremely accurate model of astronomical foreground emission, or ‘redundant,’ requiring a precisely regular array with near-identical antenna response patterns. Both of these classes of calibration are inflexible to the realities of interferometric measurement. In practice, errors in the foreground model, antenna position offsets, and beam response inhomogeneities degrade calibration performance and contaminate the cosmological signal. Here, we show that sky-based and redundant calibration can be unified into a highly general and physically motivated calibration framework based on a Bayesian statistical formalism. Our new framework includes sky-based and redundant calibration as special cases but can additionally support relaxing the rigid assumptions implicit in those approaches. We present simulation results demonstrating that, in a simple case, working in an intermediate regime between sky-based and redundant calibration improves calibration performance. Our framework is highly general and encompasses novel calibration approaches including techniques for calibrating compact non-redundant arrays, calibrating to incomplete sky models, and constraining calibration solutions across frequency.
  4. ABSTRACT We quantify the effect of radio frequency interference (RFI) on measurements of the 21-cm power spectrum during the Epoch of Reionization (EoR). Specifically, we investigate how the frequency structure of RFI source emission generates contamination in higher order wave modes, which is much more problematic than smooth-spectrum foreground sources. Using a relatively optimistic EoR model, we find that even a single relatively dim RFI source can overwhelm the EoR power spectrum signal of $\sim 10\, {\rm mK}^2$ for modes $0.1 \ \lt k \lt 2 \, h\, {\rm Mpc}^{-1}$. If the total apparent RFI flux density in the final power spectrum integration is kept below 1 mJy, an EoR signal resembling this optimistic model should be detectable for modes $k \lt 0.9\, h\, {\rm Mpc}^{-1}$, given no other systematic contaminants and an error tolerance as high as 10 per cent. More pessimistic models will be more restrictive. These results emphasize the need for highly effective RFI mitigation strategies for telescopes used to search for the EoR.
  5. Abstract Precise instrumental calibration is of crucial importance to 21-cm cosmology experiments. The Murchison Widefield Array’s (MWA) Phase II compact configuration offers us opportunities for both redundant calibration and sky-based calibration algorithms; using the two in tandem is a potential approach to mitigate calibration errors caused by inaccurate sky models. The MWA Epoch of Reionization (EoR) experiment targets three patches of the sky (dubbed EoR0, EoR1, and EoR2) with deep observations. Previous work in Li et al. (2018) and (2019) studied the effect of tandem calibration on the EoR0 field and found that it yielded no significant improvement in the power spectrum (PS) over sky-based calibration alone. In this work, we apply similar techniques to the EoR1 field and find a distinct result: the improvements in the PS from tandem calibration are significant. To understand this result, we analyse both the calibration solutions themselves and the effects on the PS over three nights of EoR1 observations. We conclude that the presence of the bright radio galaxy Fornax A in EoR1 degrades the performance of sky-based calibration, which in turn enables redundant calibration to have a larger impact. These results suggest that redundant calibration can indeed mitigate some level of modelmore »incompleteness error.« less
  6. Abstract Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) data analysis requires unprecedented levels of accuracy in radio interferometer pipelines. We have developed an imaging power spectrum analysis to meet these requirements and generate robust 21 cm EoR measurements. In this work, we build a signal path framework to mathematically describe each step in the analysis, from data reduction in the Fast Holographic Deconvolution (FHD) package to power spectrum generation in the ε ppsilon package. In particular, we focus on the distinguishing characteristics of FHD/ ε ppsilon: highly accurate spectral calibration, extensive data verification products, and end-to-end error propagation. We present our key data analysis products in detail to facilitate understanding of the prominent systematics in image-based power spectrum analyses. As a verification to our analysis, we also highlight a full-pipeline analysis simulation to demonstrate signal preservation and lack of signal loss. This careful treatment ensures that the FHD/ ε ppsilon power spectrum pipeline can reduce radio interferometric data to produce credible 21 cm EoR measurements.