Journal Article

Foreground simulations for the LOFAR–epoch of reionization experiment

V. Jelić, S. Zaroubi, P. Labropoulos, R. M. Thomas, G. Bernardi, M. A. Brentjens, A. G. De Bruyn, B. Ciardi, G. Harker, L. V. E. Koopmans, V. N. Pandey, J. Schaye and S. Yatawatta

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 389, issue 3, pages 1319-1335
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13634.x
Foreground simulations for the LOFAR–epoch of reionization experiment

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Future high-redshift 21-cm experiments will suffer from a high degree of contamination, due both to astrophysical foregrounds and to non-astrophysical and instrumental effects. In order to reliably extract the cosmological signal from the observed data, it is essential to understand very well all data components and their influence on the extracted signal. Here we present simulated astrophysical foregrounds data cubes and discuss their possible statistical effects on the data. The foreground maps are produced assuming 5°× 5° windows that match those expected to be observed by the LOFAR epoch of reionization (EoR) key science project. We show that with the expected LOFAR–EoR sky and receiver noise levels, which amount to ≈52 mK at 150 MHz after 400 h of total observing time, a simple polynomial fit allows a statistical reconstruction of the signal. We also show that the polynomial fitting will work for maps with realistic yet idealized instrument response, i.e. a response that includes only a uniform uv coverage as a function of frequency and ignores many other uncertainties. Polarized Galactic synchrotron maps that include internal polarization and a number of Faraday screens along the line of sight are also simulated. The importance of these stems from the fact that the LOFAR instrument, in common with all current interferometric EoR experiments, has an instrumentally polarized response.

Keywords: instrumentation: interferometers; cosmology: observation; cosmology: theory; diffuse radiation; radio continuum: general; radio lines: general

Journal Article.  12804 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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