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Astrophysics Colloquium

Exploring Our Cosmic Dawn with HERA
Presented by Aaron Parsons
University of California, Berkeley

Thursday, March 29, 2018
11:00 A.M. in 169-336

The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) is designed to measure 21 cm emission from the primordial intergalactic medium (IGM) throughout cosmic reionization (z =  612), with support for exploring earlier stages of our Cosmic Dawn (z ∼  30). During these epochs, early stars and black holes heat and ionize the IGM, introducing fluctuations in 21 cm emission. HERA aims to characterize the evolution of the 21 cm power spectrum in detail to constrain the timing and morphology of reionization, the properties of the first galaxies, the evolution of large-scale structure, and the early sources of heating in the IGM.

With the recent announcement of the EDGES result, the field is abuzz with speculation about how to explain a larger-than-expected absorption trough. In this talk, I will discuss HERA's plans for following up on this result and examine the kinds of systematics to which EDGES and HERA are susceptible. We will take a look at the current state of calibration and foreground mitigation in HERA data and examine how these are impacted by the design of the HERA instrument. I will offer some lessons garnered from HERA and one of its predecessors, the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER), and discuss near-term and more speculative analysis techniques that might help control how smooth-spectrum foregrounds interact with an inherently chromatic instrumental response.

JPL Contact: Tzu-Ching Chang

SVCP Astrophysics

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