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Opening the 21cm EoR Window: Measurements of Foreground Isolation with PAPER

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Preprint
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DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/768/2/L36
arXiv ID: 1301.7099
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arXiv
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Abstract

We present new observations with the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) with the aim of measuring the properties of foreground emission for 21cm Epoch of Reionization experiments at 150 MHz. We focus on the footprint of the foregrounds in cosmological Fourier space to understand which modes of the 21cm power spectrum will most likely be compromised by foreground emission. These observations confirm predictions that foregrounds can be isolated to a "wedge"-like region of 2D (k-perpendicular, k-parallel)-space, creating a window for cosmological studies at higher k-parallel values. We also find that the emission extends past the nominal edge of this wedge due to spectral structure in the foregrounds, with this feature most prominent on the shortest baselines. Finally, we filter the data to retain only this "unsmooth" emission and image specific k-parallel modes of it. The resultant images show an excess of power at the lowest modes, but no emission can be clearly localized to any one region of the sky. This image is highly suggestive that the most problematic foregrounds for 21cm EoR studies will not be easily identifiable bright sources, but rather an aggregate of fainter emission.

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