Upper limits on the 21-cm Epoch of Reionization power spectrum from one night with LOFAR [CEA]


We present the first limits on the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) 21-cm HI power spectra, in the redshift range $z=7.9-10.6$, using the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) High-Band Antenna (HBA). In total 13\,h of data were used from observations centred on the North Celestial Pole (NCP). After subtraction of the sky model and the noise bias, we detect a non-zero $\Delta^2_{\rm I} = (56 \pm 13 {\rm mK})^2$ (1-$\sigma$) excess variance and a best 2-$\sigma$ upper limit of $\Delta^2_{\rm 21} < (79.6 {\rm mK})^2$ at $k=0.053$$h$cMpc$^{-1}$ in the range $z=$9.6-10.6. The excess variance decreases when optimizing the smoothness of the direction- and frequency-dependent gain calibration, and with increasing the completeness of the sky model. It is likely caused by (i) residual side-lobe noise on calibration baselines, (ii) leverage due to non-linear effects, (iii) noise and ionosphere-induced gain errors, or a combination thereof. Further analyses of the excess variance will be discussed in forthcoming publications.

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A. Patil, S. Yatawatta, L. Koopmans, et. al.
Wed, 1 Mar 17

Comments: 17 pages, 8 figures, accepted by ApJ