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A study of fundamental limitations to statistical detection of redshifted H i from the epoch of reionization


Thyagarajan, N and Udaya Shankar, N and Subrahmanyan, R and Arcus, W and Bernardi, G and Bowman, JD and Briggs, F and Bunton, JD and Cappallo, RJ and Corey, BE and Desouza, L and Emrich, D and Gaensler, BM and Goeke, RF and Greenhill, LJ and Hazelton, BJ and Herne, D and Hewitt, JN and Johnston-Hollitt, M and Kaplan, DL and Kasper, JC and Kincaid, BB and Koenig, R and Kratzenberg, E and Lonsdale, CJ and Lynch, MJ and McWhirter, SR and Mitchell, DA and Morales, MF and Morgan, EH and Oberoi, D and Ord, SM and Pathikulangara, J and Remillard, RA and Rogers, AEE and Roshi, DA and Salah, JE and Sault, RJ and Srivani, KS and Stevens, JB and Thiagaraj, P and Tingay, SJ and Wayth, RB and Waterson, M and Webster, RL and Whitney, AR and Williams, AJ and Williams, CL and Wyithe, JSB, A study of fundamental limitations to statistical detection of redshifted H i from the epoch of reionization, Astrophysical Journal, 776, (1) Article 6. ISSN 0004-637X (2013) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The American Astronomical Society

DOI: doi:10.1088/0004-637X/776/1/6


In this paper, we explore for the first time the relative magnitudes of three fundamental sources of uncertainty, namely, foreground contamination, thermal noise, and sample variance, in detecting the H I power spectrum from the epoch of reionization (EoR). We derive limits on the sensitivity of a Fourier synthesis telescope to detect EoR based on its array configuration and a statistical representation of images made by the instrument. We use the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) configuration for our studies. Using a unified framework for estimating signal and noise components in the H I power spectrum, we derive an expression for and estimate the contamination from extragalactic point-like sources in three-dimensional k-space. Sensitivity for EoR H I power spectrum detection is estimated for different observing modes with MWA. With 1000 hr of observing on a single field using the 128 tile MWA, EoR detection is feasible (S/N >1 for k ≲ 0.8 Mpc-1). Bandpass shaping and refinements to the EoR window are found to be effective in containing foreground contamination, which makes the instrument tolerant to imaging errors. We find that for a given observing time, observing many independent fields of view does not offer an advantage over a single field observation when thermal noise dominates over other uncertainties in the derived power spectrum.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:dark ages, reionization, first stars large-scale structure of universe methods: statistical radio continuum: galaxies radio lines: general techniques: interferometric
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Cosmology and extragalactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Stevens, JB (Dr Jamie Stevens)
ID Code:88386
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:99
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2014-01-31
Last Modified:2014-05-26

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