4 years ago

Global 21-cm signal extraction from foreground and instrumental effects I: Pattern recognition framework for separation using training sets.

Eric R. Switzer, David Rapetti, Jack O. Burns, Keith Tauscher

The sky-averaged (global) highly redshifted 21-cm spectrum from neutral hydrogen is expected to appear in the VHF range of $\sim20-200$ MHz and its spectral shape and strength are determined by the heating properties of the first stars and black holes, by the nature and duration of reionization, and by the presence or absence of exotic physics. Measurements of the global signal would therefore provide us with a wealth of astrophysical and cosmological knowledge. However, the signal has not yet been detected because it must be seen through strong foregrounds weighted by a large beam, instrumental calibration errors, and ionospheric, ground and radio-frequency-interference effects, which we collectively refer to as "systematics". Here, we present a signal extraction method for global signal experiments which uses Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) of "training sets" to produce systematics basis functions specifically suited to each observation. Instead of requiring precise absolute knowledge of the systematics, our method effectively requires precise knowledge of how the systematics can vary. After calculating eigenmodes for the signal and systematics, we perform a weighted least square fit of the corresponding coefficients and select the number of modes to include by minimizing an information criterion. We compare the performance of the signal extraction when minimizing various information criteria and find that minimizing the Deviance Information Criterion (DIC) most consistently yields unbiased fits. The methods used here are built into our widely applicable, publicly available Python package, $\texttt{pylinex}$, which analytically calculates constraints on signals and systematics from given data, errors, and training sets.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.03173

DOI: arXiv:1711.03173v1

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