An efficient feedback calibration algorithm for direct imaging radio telescopes

Adam P. Beardsley, Nithyanandan Thyagarajan, Judd Bowman, Miguel F. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We present the E-field Parallel Imaging Calibration (EPICal) algorithm, which addresses the need for a fast calibration method for direct imaging radio astronomy correlators. Direct imaging involves a spatial fast Fourier transform of antenna signals, alleviating an O(Na2) computational bottleneck typical in radio correlators, and yielding amore gentleO(Ng log2 Ng) scaling, where Na is the number of antennas in the array and Ng is the number of gridpoints in the imaging analysis. This can save orders of magnitude in computation cost for next generation arrays consisting of hundreds or thousands of antennas. However, because antenna signals are mixed in the imaging correlator without creating visibilities, gain correction must be applied prior to imaging, rather than on visibilities post-correlation.We develop the EPICal algorithm to form gain solutions quickly and without ever forming visibilities. This method scales as the number of antennas, and produces results comparable to those from visibilities. We use simulations to demonstrate the EPICal technique and study the noise properties of our gain solutions, showing they are similar to visibility-based solutions in realistic situations. By applying EPICal to 2 s of Long Wavelength Array data, we achieve a 65 per cent dynamic range improvement compared to uncalibrated images, showing this algorithm is a promising solution for next generation instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4720-4731
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Instrumentation: interferometers
  • Techniques: image processing
  • Techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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