The precision and accuracy of early epoch of reionization foreground models: Comparing MWA and paper 32-antenna source catalogs

Daniel Jacobs, Judd Bowman, James E. Aguirre

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8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As observations of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) in redshifted 21 cm emission begin, we assess the accuracy of the early catalog results from the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) and the Murchison Wide-field Array (MWA). The MWA EoR approach derives much of its sensitivity from subtracting foregrounds to <1% precision, while the PAPER approach relies on the stability and symmetry of the primary beam. Both require an accurate flux calibration to set the amplitude of the measured power spectrum. The two instruments are very similar in resolution, sensitivity, sky coverage, and spectral range and have produced catalogs from nearly contemporaneous data. We use a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo fitting method to estimate that the two instruments are on the same flux scale to within 20% and find that the images are mostly in good agreement. We then investigate the source of the errors by comparing two overlapping MWA facets where we find that the differences are primarily related to an inaccurate model of the primary beam but also correlated errors in bright sources due to CLEAN. We conclude with suggestions for mitigating and better characterizing these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume769
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2013

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catalogs
antenna
antennas
time measurement
Markov chains
sensitivity
Markov chain
suggestion
symmetry
sky
power spectra
flat surfaces
calibration
estimates

Keywords

  • catalogs
  • dark ages, reionization, first stars
  • instrumentation: interferometers
  • methods: statistical
  • radio continuum: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

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title = "The precision and accuracy of early epoch of reionization foreground models: Comparing MWA and paper 32-antenna source catalogs",
abstract = "As observations of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) in redshifted 21 cm emission begin, we assess the accuracy of the early catalog results from the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) and the Murchison Wide-field Array (MWA). The MWA EoR approach derives much of its sensitivity from subtracting foregrounds to <1{\%} precision, while the PAPER approach relies on the stability and symmetry of the primary beam. Both require an accurate flux calibration to set the amplitude of the measured power spectrum. The two instruments are very similar in resolution, sensitivity, sky coverage, and spectral range and have produced catalogs from nearly contemporaneous data. We use a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo fitting method to estimate that the two instruments are on the same flux scale to within 20{\%} and find that the images are mostly in good agreement. We then investigate the source of the errors by comparing two overlapping MWA facets where we find that the differences are primarily related to an inaccurate model of the primary beam but also correlated errors in bright sources due to CLEAN. We conclude with suggestions for mitigating and better characterizing these effects.",
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N2 - As observations of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) in redshifted 21 cm emission begin, we assess the accuracy of the early catalog results from the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) and the Murchison Wide-field Array (MWA). The MWA EoR approach derives much of its sensitivity from subtracting foregrounds to <1% precision, while the PAPER approach relies on the stability and symmetry of the primary beam. Both require an accurate flux calibration to set the amplitude of the measured power spectrum. The two instruments are very similar in resolution, sensitivity, sky coverage, and spectral range and have produced catalogs from nearly contemporaneous data. We use a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo fitting method to estimate that the two instruments are on the same flux scale to within 20% and find that the images are mostly in good agreement. We then investigate the source of the errors by comparing two overlapping MWA facets where we find that the differences are primarily related to an inaccurate model of the primary beam but also correlated errors in bright sources due to CLEAN. We conclude with suggestions for mitigating and better characterizing these effects.

AB - As observations of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) in redshifted 21 cm emission begin, we assess the accuracy of the early catalog results from the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) and the Murchison Wide-field Array (MWA). The MWA EoR approach derives much of its sensitivity from subtracting foregrounds to <1% precision, while the PAPER approach relies on the stability and symmetry of the primary beam. Both require an accurate flux calibration to set the amplitude of the measured power spectrum. The two instruments are very similar in resolution, sensitivity, sky coverage, and spectral range and have produced catalogs from nearly contemporaneous data. We use a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo fitting method to estimate that the two instruments are on the same flux scale to within 20% and find that the images are mostly in good agreement. We then investigate the source of the errors by comparing two overlapping MWA facets where we find that the differences are primarily related to an inaccurate model of the primary beam but also correlated errors in bright sources due to CLEAN. We conclude with suggestions for mitigating and better characterizing these effects.

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