Low-frequency imaging of fields at high galactic latitude with the murchison widefield Array 32 element prototype

Christopher L. Williams, Jacqueline N. Hewitt, Alan M. Levine, Angelica De Oliveira-Costa, Judd Bowman, Frank H. Briggs, B. M. Gaensler, Lars L. Hernquist, Daniel A. Mitchell, Miguel F. Morales, Shiv K. Sethi, Ravi Subrahmanyan, Elaine M. Sadler, Wayne Arcus, David G. Barnes, Gianni Bernardi, John D. Bunton, Roger C. Cappallo, Brian W. Crosse, Brian E. CoreyAvinash Deshpande, Ludi Desouza, David Emrich, Robert F. Goeke, Lincoln J. Greenhill, Bryna J. Hazelton, David Herne, David L. Kaplan, Justin C. Kasper, Barton B. Kincaid, Ronald Koenig, Eric Kratzenberg, Colin J. Lonsdale, Mervyn J. Lynch, S. Russell McWhirter, Edward H. Morgan, Divya Oberoi, Stephen M. Ord, Joseph Pathikulangara, Thiagaraj Prabu, Ronald A. Remillard, Alan E E Rogers, D. Anish Roshi, Joseph E. Salah, Robert J. Sault, N. Udaya Shankar, K. S. Srivani, Jamie B. Stevens, Steven J. Tingay, Randall B. Wayth, Mark Waterson, Rachel L. Webster, Alan R. Whitney, Andrew J. Williams, J. Stuart B Wyithe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a new low-frequency, wide-field-of-view radio interferometer under development at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. We have used a 32 element MWA prototype interferometer (MWA-32T) to observe two 50° diameter fields in the southern sky, covering a total of 2700 deg2, in order to evaluate the performance of the MWA-32T, to develop techniques for epoch of reionization experiments, and to make measurements of astronomical foregrounds. We developed a calibration and imaging pipeline for the MWA-32T, and used it to produce 15′ angular resolution maps of the two fields in the 110-200MHz band. We perform a blind source extraction using these confusion-limited images, and detect 655 sources at high significance with an additional 871 lower significance source candidates. We compare these sources with existing low-frequency radio surveys in order to assess the MWA-32T system performance, wide-field analysis algorithms, and catalog quality. Our source catalog is found to agree well with existing low-frequency surveys in these regions of the sky and with statistical distributions of point sources derived from Northern Hemisphere surveys; it represents one of the deepest surveys to date of this sky field in the 110-200MHz band.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume755
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2012

Keywords

  • dark ages
  • first stars
  • instrumentation: interferometers
  • methods: data analysis
  • reionization
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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