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  • 1
    In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, Vol. 470(4), pp.4720-4731
    Description: We present the E-field Parallel Imaging Calibration (EPICal) algorithm, which addresses the need for a fast calibration method for direct imaging radio astronomy correlators. Direct imaging involves a spatial fast Fourier transform of antenna signals, alleviating an $\mathcal {O}(N_{\mathrm{a}} ^2)$ computational bottleneck typical in radio correlators, and yielding a more gentle $\mathcal {O}(N_{\mathrm{g}} \log _2 N_{\mathrm{g}})$ scaling, where N a is the number of antennas in the array and N g is the number of gridpoints in the imaging analysis. This can save orders of magnitude in computation cost for next generation arrays consisting of hundreds or thousands of antennas. However, because antenna signals are mixed in the imaging correlator without creating visibilities, gain correction must be applied prior to imaging, rather than on visibilities post-correlation. We develop the EPICal algorithm to form gain solutions quickly and without ever forming visibilities. This method scales as the number of antennas, and produces results comparable to those from visibilities. We use simulations to demonstrate the EPICal technique and study the noise properties of our gain solutions, showing they are similar to visibility-based solutions in realistic situations. By applying EPICal to 2 s of Long Wavelength Array data, we achieve a 65 per cent dynamic range improvement compared to uncalibrated images, showing this algorithm is a promising solution for next generation instruments.
    Keywords: Instrumentation: Interferometers ; Techniques: Image Processing ; Techniques: Interferometric
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    E-ISSN: 1365-2966
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  • 2
    In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, Vol. 467(1), pp.715-730
    Description: Modern radio telescopes are favouring densely packed array layouts with large numbers of antennas ( N A ≳ 1000). Since the complexity of traditional correlators scales as $\mathcal {O}(N_{\rm A}^2)$ , there will be a steep cost for realizing the full imaging potential of these powerful instruments. Through our generic and efficient E-field Parallel Imaging Correlator ( epic ), we present the first software demonstration of a generalized direct imaging algorithm, namely the Modular Optimal Frequency Fourier imager. Not only does it bring down the cost for dense layouts to $\mathcal {O}(N_{\rm A}\log _2N_{\rm A})$ but can also image from irregular layouts and heterogeneous arrays of antennas. epic is highly modular, parallelizable, implemented in object-oriented python , and publicly available. We have verified the images produced to be equivalent to those from traditional techniques to within a precision set by gridding coarseness. We have also validated our implementation on data observed with the Long Wavelength Array (LWA1). We provide a detailed framework for imaging with heterogeneous arrays and show that epic robustly estimates the input sky model for such arrays. Antenna layouts with dense filling factors consisting of a large number of antennas such as LWA, the Square Kilometre Array, Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, and Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment will gain significant computational advantage by deploying an optimized version of epic . The algorithm is a strong candidate for instruments targeting transient searches of fast radio bursts as well as planetary and exoplanetary phenomena due to the availability of high-speed calibrated time-domain images and low output bandwidth relative to visibility-based systems.
    Keywords: Instrumentation: Interferometers ; Techniques: Image Processing ; Techniques: Interferometric ; Telescopes
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    E-ISSN: 1365-2966
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 06/11/2018, Vol.477(1), pp.864-866
    Keywords: Meteorology & Climatology ; Astronomy & Astrophysics;
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    E-ISSN: 1365-2966
    Source: Oxford University Press (via CrossRef)
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  • 4
    In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, Vol. 474(4), pp.4487-4499
    Description: We present a baseline sensitivity analysis of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) and its build-out stages to one-point statistics (variance, skewness, and kurtosis) of redshifted 21 cm intensity fluctuation from the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) based on realistic mock observations. By developing a full-sky 21 cm light-cone model, taking into account the proper field of view and frequency bandwidth, utilizing a realistic measurement scheme, and assuming perfect foreground removal, we show that HERA will be able to recover statistics of the sky model with high sensitivity by averaging over measurements from multiple fields. All build-out stages will be able to detect variance, while skewness and kurtosis should be detectable for HERA128 and larger. We identify sample variance as the limiting constraint of the measurements at the end of reionization. The sensitivity can also be further improved by performing frequency windowing. In addition, we find that strong sample variance fluctuation in the kurtosis measured from an individual field of observation indicates the presence of outlying cold or hot regions in the underlying fluctuations, a feature that can potentially be used as an EoR bubble indicator.
    Keywords: Methods: Statistical ; Dark Ages, Reionization, First Stars ; Cosmology: Observations
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    E-ISSN: 1365-2966
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  • 5
    Description: We report absolutely calibrated measurements of diffuse radio emission between 90 and 190 MHz from the Experiment to Detect the Global EoR Signature (EDGES). EDGES employs a wide beam zenith-pointing dipole antenna centred on a declination of -26.7$^\circ$. We measure the sky brightness temperature as a function of frequency averaged over the EDGES beam from 211 nights of data acquired from July 2015 to March 2016. We derive the spectral index, $\beta$, as a function of local sidereal time (LST) and find -2.60 〉 $\beta$ 〉 -2.62 $\pm$0.02 between 0 and 12 h LST. When the Galactic Centre is in the sky, the spectral index flattens, reaching $\beta$ = -2.50 $\pm$0.02 at 17.7 h. The EDGES instrument is shown to be very stable throughout the observations with night-to-night reproducibility of $\sigma_{\beta}$ 〈 0.003. Including systematic uncertainty, the overall uncertainty of $\beta$ is 0.02 across all LST bins. These results improve on the earlier findings of Rogers & Bowman (2008) by reducing the spectral index uncertainty from 0.10 to 0.02 while considering more extensive sources of errors. We compare our measurements with spectral index simulations derived from the Global Sky Model (GSM) of de Oliveira-Costa et al. (2008) and with fits between the Guzm\'an et al. (2011) 45 MHz and Haslam et al. (1982) 408 MHz maps. We find good agreement at the transit of the Galactic Centre. Away from transit, the GSM tends to over-predict (GSM less negative) by 0.05 〈 $\Delta_{\beta} = \beta_{\text{GSM}}-\beta_{\text{EDGES}}$ 〈 0.12, while the 45-408 MHz fits tend to over-predict by $\Delta_{\beta}$ 〈 0.05.
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Instrumentation And Methods For Astrophysics ; Astrophysics - Astrophysics Of Galaxies
    ISSN: 00358711
    E-ISSN: 13652966
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  • 6
    Description: We report the spectral index of diffuse radio emission between 50 and 100 MHz from data collected with two implementations of the Experiment to Detect the Global EoR Signature (EDGES) low-band system. EDGES employs a wide beam zenith-pointing dipole antenna centred on a declination of $-26.7^\circ$. We measure the sky brightness temperature as a function of frequency averaged over the EDGES beam from 244 nights of data acquired between 14 September 2016 to 27 August 2017. We derive the spectral index, $\beta$, as a function of local sidereal time (LST) using night-time data and a two-parameter fitting equation. We find $-2.59〈\beta〈-2.54 \pm 0.011$ between 0 and 12 h LST, ignoring ionospheric effects. When the Galactic Centre is in the sky, the spectral index flattens, reaching $\beta = -2.46 \pm 0.011$ at 18.2 h. The measurements are stable throughout the observations with night-to-night reproducibility of $\sigma_{\beta}〈0.004$ except for the LST range of 7 to 12 h. We compare our measurements with predictions from various global sky models and find that the closest match is with the spectral index derived from the Guzm{\'a}n and Haslam sky maps, similar to the results found with the EDGES high-band instrument for 90-190 MHz. Three-parameter fitting was also evaluated with the result that the spectral index becomes more negative by $\sim$0.02 and has a maximum total uncertainty of 0.016. We also find that the third parameter, the spectral index curvature, $\gamma$, is constrained to $-0.11〈\gamma〈-0.04$. Correcting for expected levels of night-time ionospheric absorption causes $\beta$ to become more negative by $0.008$ - $0.016$ depending on LST.
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Instrumentation And Methods For Astrophysics ; Astrophysics - Astrophysics Of Galaxies
    ISSN: 00358711
    E-ISSN: 13652966
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  • 7
    In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2015, Vol. 447(3), pp.2468-2478
    Description: Recent observations with the Murchison Widefield Array at 185 MHz have serendipitously unveiled a heretofore unknown giant and relatively nearby ( z  = 0.0178) radio galaxy associated with NGC 1534. The diffuse emission presented here is the first indication that NGC 1534 is one of a rare class of objects (along with NGC 5128 and NGC 612) in which a galaxy with a prominent dust lane hosts radio emission on scales of ∼700 kpc. We present details of the radio emission along with a detailed comparison with other radio galaxies with discs. NGC 1534 is the lowest surface brightness radio galaxy known with an estimated scaled 1.4-GHz surface brightness of just 0.2 mJy arcmin −2 . The radio lobes have one of the steepest spectral indices yet observed: α = −2.1 ± 0.1, and the core to lobe luminosity ratio is 〈0.1 per cent. We estimate the space density of this low brightness (dying) phase of radio galaxy evolution as 7 × 10 −7  Mpc −3 and argue that normal AGN cannot spend more than 6 per cent of their lifetime in this phase if they all go through the same cycle.
    Keywords: Techniques: Interferometric ; Galaxies: Active ; Galaxies: General ; Galaxies: Individual:Ngc 1534 ; Radio Continuum: Galaxies
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    E-ISSN: 1365-2966
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  • 8
    In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2016, Vol. 460(4), pp.4320-4347
    Description: We present first results from radio observations with the Murchison Widefield Array seeking to constrain the power spectrum of 21 cm brightness temperature fluctuations between the redshifts of 11.6 and 17.9 (113 and 75 MHz). 3 h of observations were conducted over two nights with significantly different levels of ionospheric activity. We use these data to assess the impact of systematic errors at low frequency, including the ionosphere and radio-frequency interference, on a power spectrum measurement. We find that after the 1–3 h of integration presented here, our measurements at the Murchison Radio Observatory are not limited by RFI, even within the FM band, and that the ionosphere does not appear to affect the level of power in the modes that we expect to be sensitive to cosmology. Power spectrum detections, inconsistent with noise, due to fine spectral structure imprinted on the foregrounds by reflections in the signal-chain, occupy the spatial Fourier modes where we would otherwise be most sensitive to the cosmological signal. We are able to reduce this contamination using calibration solutions derived from autocorrelations so that we achieve an sensitivity of 10 4  mK on comoving scales k ≲ 0.5  h  Mpc −1 . This represents the first upper limits on the 21 cm power spectrum fluctuations at redshifts 12 ≲ z ≲ 18 but is still limited by calibration systematics. While calibration improvements may allow us to further remove this contamination, our results emphasize that future experiments should consider carefully the existence of and their ability to calibrate out any spectral structure within the EoR window.
    Keywords: Techniques: Interferometric ; Dark Ages, Reionization, First Stars ; Radio Lines: General ; X - Rays: Galaxies
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    E-ISSN: 1365-2966
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  • 9
    Description: Using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), the low-frequency Square Kilometre Array (SKA1 LOW) precursor located in Western Australia, we have completed the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA (GLEAM) survey, and present the resulting extragalactic catalogue, utilising the first year of observations. The catalogue covers 24,831 square degrees, over declinations south of $+30^\circ$ and Galactic latitudes outside $10^\circ$ of the Galactic plane, excluding some areas such as the Magellanic Clouds. It contains 307,455 radio sources with 20 separate flux density measurements across 72--231MHz, selected from a time- and frequency- integrated image centred at 200MHz, with a resolution of $\approx 2$'. Over the catalogued region, we estimate that the catalogue is 90% complete at 170mJy, and 50% complete at 55mJy, and large areas are complete at even lower flux density levels. Its reliability is 99.97% above the detection threshold of $5\sigma$, which itself is typically 50mJy. These observations constitute the widest fractional bandwidth and largest sky area survey at radio frequencies to date, and calibrate the low frequency flux density scale of the southern sky to better than 10%. This paper presents details of the flagging, imaging, mosaicking, and source extraction/characterisation, as well as estimates of the completeness and reliability. All source measurements and images are available online (http://www.mwatelescope.org/science/gleam-survey). This is the first in a series of publications describing the GLEAM survey results. Comment: 30 pages, 18 figures, 6 tables, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Astrophysics Of Galaxies
    ISSN: 00358711
    E-ISSN: 13652966
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