Overcoming real-world obstacles in 21 cm power spectrum estimation: A method demonstration and results from early Murchison Widefield Array data
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Copyright © 2014 by the American Physical Society
We present techniques for bridging the gap between idealized inverse covariance weighted quadratic estimation of 21 cm power spectra and the real-world challenges presented universally by interferometric observation. By carefully evaluating various estimators and adapting our techniques for large but incomplete data sets, we develop a robust power spectrum estimation framework that preserves the so-called "Epoch of Reionization (EoR) window" and keeps track of estimator errors and covariances. We apply our method to observations from the 32-tile prototype of the Murchinson Widefield Array to demonstrate the importance of a judicious analysis technique. Lastly, we apply our method to investigate the dependence of the clean EoR window on frequency—especially the frequency dependence of the so-called “wedge" feature—and establish upper limits on the power spectrum from z ¼ 6.2 to z ¼ 11:7. Our lowest limit is ?ðkÞ < 0.3 Kelvin at 95% confidence at a comoving scale k ¼ 0.046 Mpc-1 and z ¼ 9.5.
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