skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1836019

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.


    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

    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

    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

    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

    Cross-correlating 21cm and Lyα intensity maps of the Epoch of Reionization promises to be a powerful tool for exploring the properties of the first galaxies. Next-generation intensity mapping experiments such as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) and SPHEREx will individually probe reionization through the power spectra of the 21cm and Lyα lines respectively, but will be limited by bright foregrounds and instrumental systematics. Cross-correlating these measurements could reduce systematics, potentially tightening constraints on the inferred astrophysical parameters. In this study, we present forecasts of cross-correlation taking into account the effects of exact uv-sampling and foreground filtering to estimate the feasibility of HERAxSPHEREx making a detection of the 21cm-Lyα cross-power spectrum. We also project the sensitivity of a cross-power spectrum between HERA and the proposed next-generation Cosmic Dawn Intensity Mapper. By isolating the sources of uncertainty, we explore the impacts of experimental limitations such as foreground filtering and Lyα thermal noise uncertainty have on making a detection of the cross-power spectrum. We then implement this strategy in a simulation of the cross-power spectrum and observational error to identify redshifts where fiducial 21cmFAST models predict the highest signal-to-noise detection (z ∼ 8). We conclude that detection of the SPHEREx-HERA cross-correlation will require an optimistic level of 21cm foreground filtering, as well as deeper thermal noise integrations due to a lack of overlapping sensitive modes but for CDIM with its larger range of scales and lower noise forecast detection levels, may be possible even with stricter 21cm foreground filtering.

    more » « less
  6. 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
  7. Abstract

    Recently, the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) has produced the experiment’s first upper limits on the power spectrum of 21 cm fluctuations atz∼ 8 and 10. Here, we use several independent theoretical models to infer constraints on the intergalactic medium (IGM) and galaxies during the epoch of reionization from these limits. We find that the IGM must have been heated above the adiabatic-cooling threshold byz∼ 8, independent of uncertainties about IGM ionization and the radio background. Combining HERA limits with complementary observations constrains the spin temperature of thez∼ 8 neutral IGM to 27 KT¯S630 K (2.3 KT¯S640 K) at 68% (95%) confidence. They therefore also place a lower bound on X-ray heating, a previously unconstrained aspects of early galaxies. For example, if the cosmic microwave background dominates thez∼ 8 radio background, the new HERA limits imply that the first galaxies produced X-rays more efficiently than local ones. Thez∼ 10 limits require even earlier heating if dark-matter interactions cool the hydrogen gas. If an extra radio background is produced by galaxies, we rule out (at 95% confidence) the combination of high radio and low X-ray luminosities ofLr,ν/SFR > 4 × 1024W Hz−1M1yr andLX/SFR < 7.6 × 1039erg s−1M1yr. The new HERA upper limits neither support nor disfavor a cosmological interpretation of the recent Experiment to Detect the Global EOR Signature (EDGES) measurement. The framework described here provides a foundation for the interpretation of future HERA results.

    more » « less
  8. Abstract

    We present a framework for identifying and flagging malfunctioning antennas in large radio interferometers. We outline two distinct categories of metrics designed to detect outliers along known failure modes of large arrays: cross‐correlation metrics, based on all antenna pairs, and auto‐correlation metrics, based solely on individual antennas. We define and motivate the statistical framework for all metrics used, and present tailored visualizations that aid us in clearly identifying new and existing systematics. We implement these techniques using data from 105 antennas in the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) as a case study. Finally, we provide a detailed algorithm for implementing these metrics as flagging tools on real data sets.

    more » « less
  9. In this work, the SDR Pathfinder for Understanding Transient and Noise-level Interference in the Karoo (SPUTNIK) is presented. We describe how a low-cost radio frequency interference (RFI) monitoring system, using solely consumer-off-the-shelf (COTS) components, directly contributes to the analysis efforts of a precision 21[Formula: see text]cm cosmology instrument. A SPUTNIK system overview is provided, as well as a generalized software-defined radio (SDR) internal calibration technique to achieve wideband, [Formula: see text][Formula: see text]dBm-level accuracy and a measured dynamic range of [Formula: see text][Formula: see text]dB. 
    more » « less
  10. ABSTRACT The 21 cm transition from neutral hydrogen promises to be the best observational probe of the epoch of reionization (EoR). The main difficulty in measuring the 21 cm signal is the presence of bright foregrounds that require very accurate interferometric calibration. Closure quantities may circumvent the calibration requirements but may be, however, affected by direction-dependent effects, particularly antenna primary beam responses. This work investigates the impact of antenna primary beams affected by mutual coupling on the closure phase and its power spectrum. Our simulations show that primary beams affected by mutual coupling lead to a leakage of foreground power into the EoR window, which can be up to ∼104 times higher than the case where no mutual coupling is considered. This leakage is, however, essentially confined at k < 0.3 h Mpc−1 for triads that include 29 m baselines. The leakage magnitude is more pronounced when bright foregrounds appear in the antenna sidelobes, as expected. Finally, we find that triads that include mutual coupling beams different from each other have power spectra similar to triads that include the same type of mutual coupling beam, indicating that beam-to-beam variation within triads (or visibility pairs) is not the major source of foreground leakage in the EoR window. 
    more » « less