A technique for primary beam calibration of drift-scanning, wide-field antenna elements

Jonathan C. Pober, Aaron R. Parsons, Daniel Jacobs, James E. Aguirre, Richard F. Bradley, Chris L. Carilli, Nicole E. Gugliucci, David F. Moore, Chaitali R. Parashare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a new technique for calibrating the primary beam of a wide-field, drift-scanning antenna element. Drift-scan observing is not compatible with standard beam calibration routines, and the situation is further complicated by difficult-to-parameterize beam shapes and, at low frequencies, the sparsity of accurate source spectra to use as calibrators. We overcome these challenges by building up an interrelated network of source "crossing points" - locations where the primary beam is sampled by multiple sources. Using the single assumption that a beam has 180°rotational symmetry, we can achieve significant beam coverage with only a few tens of sources. The resulting network of crossing points allows us to solve for both a beam model and source flux densities referenced to a single calibrator source, circumventing the need for a large sample of well-characterized calibrators. We illustrate the method with actual and simulated observations from the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume143
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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