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Non-linear Kalman filters for calibration in radio interferometry

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DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201423503
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We present a new calibration scheme based on a non-linear version of Kalman filter that aims at estimating the physical terms appearing in the Radio Interferometry Measurement Equation (RIME). We enrich the filter's structure with a tunable data representation model, together with an augmented measurement model for regularization. We show using simulations that it can properly estimate the physical effects appearing in the RIME. We found that this approach is particularly useful in the most extreme cases such as when ionospheric and clock effects are simultaneously present. Combined with the ability to provide prior knowledge on the expected structure of the physical instrumental effects (expected physical state and dynamics), we obtain a fairly cheap algorithm that we believe to be robust, especially in low signal-to-noise regime. Potentially the use of filters and other similar methods can represent an improvement for calibration in radio interferometry, under the condition that the effects corrupting visibilities are understood and analytically stable. Recursive algorithms are particularly well adapted for pre-calibration and sky model estimate in a streaming way. This may be useful for the SKA-type instruments that produce huge amounts of data that have to be calibrated before being averaged.


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