The LOFAR EoR Data Model: (I) Effects of Noise and Instrumental Corruptions on the 21-cm Reionization Signal-Extraction Strategy

Labropoulos, P., Koopmans, L. V. E., Jeli´c, V., Pandey, V. N., Schaye, J. & Zaroubi, S., 2009, In : ArXiv. 20 p.

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the Epoch of Reionization (EoR). The common denominator of these experiments are the large data sets produced, contaminated by various instrumental effects, ionospheric distortions, RFI and strong Galactic and extragalactic foregrounds. In this paper, the first in a series, we present the Data Model that will be the basis of the signal analysis for the LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) EoR Key Science Project (LOFAR EoR KSP). Using this data model we simulate realistic visibility data sets over a wide frequency band, taking properly into account all currently known instrumental corruptions (e.g. direction-dependent gains, complex gains, polarization effects, noise, etc). We then apply primary calibration errors to the data in a statistical sense, assuming that the calibration errors are random Gaussian variates at a level consistent with our current knowledge based on observations with the LOFAR Core Station 1. Our aim is to demonstrate how the systematics of an interferometric measurement affect the quality of the calibrated data, how errors correlate and propagate, and in the long run how this can lead to new calibration strategies. We present results of these simulations and the inversion process and extraction procedure. We also discuss some general properties of the coherency matrix and Jones formalism that might prove useful in solving the calibration problem of aperture synthesis arrays. We conclude that even in the presence of realistic noise and instrumental errors, the statistical signature of the EoR signal can be detected by LOFAR with relatively small errors. A detailed study of the statistical properties of our data model and more complex instrumental models will be considered in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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