Validation of the EDGES Low-band Antenna Beam Model

Nivedita Mahesh, Judd D. Bowman, Thomas J. Mozdzen, Alan E.E. Rogers, Raul A. Monsalve, Steven G. Murray, David Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The response of the antenna is a source of uncertainty in measurements with the Experiment to Detect the Global Epoch of Reionization Signature (EDGES). We aim to validate the electromagnetic beam model of the low-band (50-100 MHz) dipole antenna with comparisons between models and against data. We find that simulations of a simplified model of the antenna over an infinite perfectly conducting ground plane are, with one exception, robust to changes in the numerical electromagnetic solver code or algorithm. For simulations of the antenna with the actual finite ground plane and realistic soil properties, we find that two out of three numerical solvers agree well. Applying our analysis pipeline to a simulated drift-scan observation from an early EDGES low-band instrument that had a 10 m 10 m ground plane, we find residual levels after fitting and removing a five-term foreground model from the simulated data binned in local sidereal time (LST) average about 250 mK with 40 mK variation between numerical solvers. A similar analysis of the primary 30 m 30 m sawtooth ground plane reduced the LST-averaged residuals to about 90 mK with 10 mK between the two viable solvers. More broadly we show that larger ground planes generally perform better than smaller ground planes. Simulated data have a power that is within 4% of real observations, a limitation of net accuracy of the sky and beam models. We observe that residual spectral structures after foreground model fits match qualitatively between simulated data and observations, suggesting that the frequency dependence of the beam is reasonably represented by the models. We find that a soil conductivity of 0.02 S m-1 and relative permittivity of 3.5 yield good agreement between simulated spectra and observations. This is consistent with the soil properties reported by Sutinjo et al. for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, where EDGES is located.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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