Absolute Calibration Strategies for the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and Their Impact on the 21 cm Power Spectrum

Nicholas S. Kern, Joshua S. Dillon, Aaron R. Parsons, Christopher L. Carilli, Gianni Bernardi, Zara Abdurashidova, James E. Aguirre, Paul Alexander, Zaki S. Ali, Yanga Balfour, Adam P. Beardsley, Tashalee S. Billings, Judd D. Bowman, Richard F. Bradley, Philip Bull, Jacob Burba, Steven Carey, Carina Cheng, David R. Deboer, Matt DexterEloy De Lera Acedo, John Ely, Aaron Ewall-Wice, Nicolas Fagnoni, Randall Fritz, Steve R. Furlanetto, Kingsley Gale-Sides, Brian Glendenning, Deepthi Gorthi, Bradley Greig, Jasper Grobbelaar, Ziyaad Halday, Bryna J. Hazelton, Jacqueline N. Hewitt, Jack Hickish, Daniel C. Jacobs, Austin Julius, Joshua Kerrigan, Piyanat Kittiwisit, Saul A. Kohn, Matthew Kolopanis, Adam Lanman, Paul La Plante, Telalo Lekalake, Adrian Liu, David Macmahon, Lourence Malan, Cresshim Malgas, Matthys Maree, Zachary E. Martinot, Eunice Matsetela, Andrei Mesinger, Mathakane Molewa, Miguel F. Morales, Tshegofalang Mosiane, Steven G. Murray, Abraham R. Neben, Bojan Nikolic, Chuneeta D. Nunhokee, Nipanjana Patra, Samantha Pieterse, Jonathan C. Pober, Nima Razavi-Ghods, Jon Ringuette, James Robnett, Kathryn Rosie, Peter Sims, Craig Smith, Angelo Syce, Nithyanandan Thyagarajan, Peter K.G. Williams, Haoxuan Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We discuss absolute calibration strategies for Phase I of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), which aims to measure the cosmological 21 cm signal from the Epoch of Reionization. HERA is a drift-scan array with a 10° wide field of view, meaning bright, well-characterized point-source transits are scarce. This, combined with HERA's redundant sampling of the uv plane and the modest angular resolution of the Phase I instrument, make traditional sky-based and self-calibration techniques difficult to implement with high dynamic range. Nonetheless, in this work, we demonstrate calibration for HERA using point-source catalogs and electromagnetic simulations of its primary beam. We show that unmodeled diffuse flux and instrumental contaminants can corrupt the gain solutions and present a gain-smoothing approach for mitigating their impact on the 21 cm power spectrum. We also demonstrate a hybrid sky and redundant calibration scheme and compare it to pure sky-based calibration, showing only a marginal improvement to the gain solutions at intermediate delay scales. Our work suggests that the HERA Phase I system can be well calibrated for a foreground avoidance power spectrum estimator by applying direction-independent gains with a small set of degrees of freedom across the frequency and time axes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume890
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 20 2020
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Kern, N. S., Dillon, J. S., Parsons, A. R., Carilli, C. L., Bernardi, G., Abdurashidova, Z., Aguirre, J. E., Alexander, P., Ali, Z. S., Balfour, Y., Beardsley, A. P., Billings, T. S., Bowman, J. D., Bradley, R. F., Bull, P., Burba, J., Carey, S., Cheng, C., Deboer, D. R., ... Zheng, H. (2020). Absolute Calibration Strategies for the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and Their Impact on the 21 cm Power Spectrum. Astrophysical Journal, 890(2), [122]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab67bc