Methods of Error Estimation for Delay Power Spectra in 21 cm Cosmology

Jianrong Tan, Adrian Liu, Nicholas S. Kern, Zara Abdurashidova, James E. Aguirre, Paul Alexander, Zaki S. Ali, Yanga Balfour, Adam P. Beardsley, Gianni Bernardi, Tashalee S. Billings, Judd D. Bowman, Richard F. Bradley, Philip Bull, Jacob Burba, Steven Carey, Christopher L. Carilli, Carina Cheng, David R. Deboer, Matt DexterEloy De Lera Acedo, Joshua S. Dillon, 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, 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, Aaron R. Parsons, Nipanjana Patra, Samantha Pieterse, Jonathan C. Pober, Nima Razavi-Ghods, Jon Ringuette, James Robnett, Kathryn Rosie, Peter Sims, Saurabh Singh, Craig Smith, Angelo Syce, Nithyanandan Thyagarajan, Peter K.G. Williams, Haoxuan Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Precise measurements of the 21 cm power spectrum are crucial for understanding the physical processes of hydrogen reionization. Currently, this probe is being pursued by low-frequency radio interferometer arrays. As these experiments come closer to making a first detection of the signal, error estimation will play an increasingly important role in setting robust measurements. Using the delay power spectrum approach, we have produced a critical examination of different ways that one can estimate error bars on the power spectrum. We do this through a synthesis of analytic work, simulations of toy models, and tests on small amounts of real data. We find that, although computed independently, the different error bar methodologies are in good agreement with each other in the noise-dominated regime of the power spectrum. For our preferred methodology, the predicted probability distribution function is consistent with the empirical noise power distributions from both simulated and real data. This diagnosis is mainly in support of the forthcoming HERA upper limit and also is expected to be more generally applicable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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