Improved 21 cm Epoch of Reionization Power Spectrum Measurements with a Hybrid Foreground Subtraction and Avoidance Technique

Joshua R. Kerrigan, Jonathan C. Pober, Zaki S. Ali, Carina Cheng, Adam P. Beardsley, Aaron R. Parsons, James E. Aguirre, Nichole Barry, Richard F. Bradley, Gianni Bernardi, Chris L. Carilli, David R. Deboer, Joshua S. Dillon, Daniel Jacobs, Saul A. Kohn, Matthew Kolopanis, Adam Lanman, Wenyang Li, Adrian Liu, Ian Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Observations of the 21 cm Epoch of Reionization signal are dominated by Galactic and extragalactic foregrounds. The need for foreground removal has led to the development of two main techniques, often referred to as "foreground avoidance" and "foreground subtraction." Avoidance is associated with filtering foregrounds in Fourier space, while subtraction uses an explicit foreground model that is removed. Using 1088 hr of data from the 64-element PAPER array, we demonstrate that subtraction of a foreground model prior to delay-space foreground filtering results in a modest but measurable improvement of the performance of the filter. This proof-of-concept result shows that improvement stems from the reduced dynamic range requirements needed for the foreground filter: subtraction of a foreground model reduces the total foreground power, so for a fixed dynamic range, the filter can push toward fainter limits. We also find that the choice of window function used in the foreground filter can have an appreciable affect on the performance near the edges of the observing band. We demonstrate these effects using a smaller 3 hr sampling of data from the MWA, and find that the hybrid filtering and subtraction removal approach provides similar improvements across the band as seen in the case with PAPER-64.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018


  • dark ages, reionization, first stars
  • methods: data analysis
  • techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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