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  • Techniques: Interferometric
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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, 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...
    Keywords: Techniques: Interferometric ; Dark Ages ; Reionization ; First Stars ; Radio Lines: General ; X-Rays: Galaxies
    ISSN: 0035-8711
    ISSN: 1365-2966
    Source: NARCIS (National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System)
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: The Astrophysical Journal, 2014, Vol.782(2), p.66 (25pp)
    Description: A number of experiments are currently working toward a measurement of the 21 cm signal from the epoch of reionization (EoR). Whether or not these experiments deliver a detection of cosmological emission, their limited sensitivity will prevent them from providing detailed information about the astrophysics of reionization. In this work, we consider what types of measurements will be enabled by the next generation of larger 21 cm EoR telescopes. To calculate the type of constraints that will be possible with such arrays, we use simple models for the instrument, foreground emission, and the reionization history. We focus primarily on an instrument modeled after the 0.1 km 2 collecting area Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array concept design and parameterize the uncertainties with regard to foreground emission by considering different limits to the recently described wedge footprint in k space. Uncertainties in the reionization history are accounted for using a series of simulations that vary the ionizing efficiency and minimum virial temperature of the galaxies responsible for reionization, as well as the mean free path of ionizing photons through the intergalactic medium. Given various combinations of models, we consider the significance of the possible power spectrum detections, the ability to trace the power spectrum evolution versus redshift, the detectability of salient power spectrum features, and the achievable level of quantitative constraints on astrophysical parameters. Ultimately, we find that 0.1 km 2 of collecting area is enough to ensure a very high significance ( 30) detection of the reionization power spectrum in even the most pessimistic scenarios. This sensitivity should allow for meaningful constraints on the reionization history and astrophysical parameters, especially if foreground subtraction techniques can be improved and successfully implemented.
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Cosmology And Nongalactic Astrophysics;
    ISSN: 0004-637X
    E-ISSN: 1538-4357
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: The Astrophysical Journal, 2009, Vol.695(1), pp.183-199
    Description: Subtraction of astrophysical foreground contamination from dirty sky maps produced by simulated measurements of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) has been performed by fitting a third-order polynomial along the spectral dimension of each pixel in the data cubes. The simulations are the first to include the unavoidable instrumental effects of the frequency-dependent primary antenna beams and synthesized array beams. They recover the one-dimensional spherically binned input redshifted 21 cm power spectrum within 1% over the scales probed most sensitively by the MWA (0.01 k 1 Mpc 1 ) and demonstrate that realistic instrumental effects will not mask the epoch of reionization signal. We find that the weighting function used to produce the dirty sky maps from the gridded visibility measurements is important to the success of the technique. Uniform weighting of the visibility measurements produces the best results, whereas natural weighting significantly worsens the foreground subtraction by coupling structure in the density of the visibility measurements to spectral structure in the dirty sky map data cube. The extremely dense uv -coverage of the MWA was found to be advantageous for this technique and produced very good results on scales corresponding to | u | 500 in the uv -plane without any selective editing of the uv -coverage.
    Keywords: Astrophysics;
    ISSN: 0004-637X
    E-ISSN: 1538-4357
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  • 6
    In: 2012 ApJ 759 17
    Description: We introduce the Fast Holographic Deconvolution method for analyzing interferometric radio data. Our new method is an extension of A-projection/software-holography/forward modeling analysis techniques and shares their precision deconvolution and widefield polarimetry, while being significantly faster than current implementations that use full direction-dependent antenna gains. Using data from the MWA 32 antenna prototype, we demonstrate the effectiveness and precision of our new algorithm. Fast Holographic Deconvolution may be particularly important for upcoming 21 cm cosmology observations of the Epoch of Reionization and Dark Energy where foreground subtraction is intimately related to the precision of the data reduction. Comment: ApJ accepted
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Instrumentation And Methods For Astrophysics ; Astrophysics - Cosmology And Extragalactic Astrophysics
    ISSN: 0004637X
    E-ISSN: 15384357
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: The Astrophysical Journal, 2014, Vol.793(1), p.28 (13pp)
    Description: Detection of the epoch of reionization (EoR) in the redshifted 21 cm line is a challenging task. Here, we formulate the detection of the EoR signal using the drift scan strategy. This method potentially has better instrumental stability compared to the case where a single patch of sky is tracked. We demonstrate that the correlation time between measured visibilities could extend up to 1-2 hr for an interferometer array such as the Murchison Widefield Array, which has a wide primary beam. We estimate the EoR power based on a cross-correlation of visibilities over time and show that the drift scan strategy is capable of detecting the EoR signal with a signal to noise that is comparable/better compared to the tracking case. We also estimate the visibility correlation for a set of bright point sources and argue that the statistical inhomogeneity of bright point sources might allow their separation from the EoR signal.
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Instrumentation And Methods For Astrophysics ; Astrophysics - Cosmology And Nongalactic Astrophysics;
    ISSN: 0004-637X
    E-ISSN: 1538-4357
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2015, Vol.807(2), p.L28 (5pp)
    Description: We confirm our recent prediction of the “pitchfork” foreground signature in power spectra of high-redshift 21 cm measurements where the interferometer is sensitive to large-scale structure on all baselines. This is due to the inherent response of a wide-field instrument and is characterized by enhanced power from foreground emission in Fourier modes adjacent to those considered to be the most sensitive to the cosmological H i signal. In our recent paper, many signatures from the simulation that predicted this feature were validated against Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) data, but this key pitchfork signature was close to the noise level. In this paper, we improve the data sensitivity through the coherent averaging of 12 independent snapshots with identical instrument settings and provide the first confirmation of the prediction with a signal-to-noise ratio . This wide-field effect can be mitigated by careful antenna designs that suppress sensitivity near the horizon. Simple models for antenna apertures that have been proposed for future instruments such as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and the Square Kilometre Array indicate they should suppress foreground leakage from the pitchfork by ∼40 dB relative to the MWA and significantly increase the likelihood of cosmological signal detection in these critical Fourier modes in the three-dimensional power spectrum.
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Cosmology And Nongalactic Astrophysics ; Astrophysics - Instrumentation And Methods For Astrophysics;
    ISSN: 2041-8205
    E-ISSN: 2041-8213
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  • 9
    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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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 2014, Vol.31
    Description: We present the results of an approximately 6,100 square degree 104--196MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the Murchison Widefield Array Commissioning Survey (MWACS). The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h 〈 Right Ascension (RA) 〈 8.5 h, -58 deg 〈 Declination (Dec) 〈 -14 deg over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6--3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3-arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy/beam, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaiced snapshots, flux density calibration and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14,110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1,247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources. Comment: 22 pages, 18 figures, accepted to PASA
    Keywords: Astrophysics - Instrumentation And Methods For Astrophysics;
    ISSN: 1323-3580
    E-ISSN: 1448-6083
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