The most up-to-date list of my publications from the NASA ADS database can be found here.

Here are some of the refereed papers listed individually:

2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 467, 715
Thyagarajan, N., Beardsley, A. P., Bowman, J. D., and Morales, M. F.

Modern radio telescopes are favouring densely packed array layouts with large numbers of antennas (NA ≳ 1000). Since the complexity of traditional correlators scales as O(NA2), there will be a steep cost for realizing the full imaging potential of these powerful instruments. Through our generic and efficient E-field Parallel Imaging Correlator (epic), we present the first software demonstration of a generalized direct imaging algorithm, namely the Modular Optimal Frequency Fourier imager. Not only does it bring down the cost for dense layouts to O(NA log2NA) but can also image from irregular layouts and heterogeneous arrays of antennas. epic is highly modular, parallelizable, implemented in object-oriented python, and publicly available. We have verified the images produced to be equivalent to those from traditional techniques to within a precision set by gridding coarseness. We have also validated our implementation on data observed with the Long Wavelength Array (LWA1). We provide a detailed framework for imaging with heterogeneous arrays and show that epic robustly estimates the input sky model for such arrays. Antenna layouts with dense filling factors consisting of a large number of antennas such as LWA, the Square Kilometre Array, Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, and Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment will gain significant computational advantage by deploying an optimized version of epic. The algorithm is a strong candidate for instruments targeting transient searches of fast radio bursts as well as planetary and exoplanetary phenomena due to the availability of high-speed calibrated time-domain images and low output bandwidth relative to visibility-based systems.

2016, The Astrophysical Journal, 825, 9
Thyagarajan, N., Parsons, A.R., DeBoer, D. R., Bowman, J. D., et al.

Unaccounted for systematics from foregrounds and instruments can severely limit the sensitivity of current experiments from detecting redshifted 21 cm signals from the Epoch of Reionization (EoR). Upcoming experiments are faced with a challenge to deliver more collecting area per antenna element without degrading the data with systematics. This paper and its companions show that dishes are viable for achieving this balance using the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) as an example. Here, we specifically identify spectral systematics associated with the antenna power pattern as a significant detriment to all EoR experiments which causes the already bright foreground power to leak well beyond ideal limits and contaminate the otherwise clean EoR signal modes. A primary source of this chromaticity is reflections in the antenna-feed assembly and between structures in neighboring antennas. Using precise foreground simulations taking wide-field effects into account, we provide a generic framework to set cosmologically motivated design specifications on these reflections to prevent further EoR signal degradation. We show that HERA will not be impeded by such spectral systematics and demonstrate that even in a conservative scenario that does not perform removal of foregrounds, HERA will detect the EoR signal in line-of-sight k-modes, k|| ≳ 0.2 h Mpc-1, with high significance. Under these conditions, all baselines in a 19-element HERA layout are capable of detecting EoR over a substantial observing window on the sky.

2015, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 807, 28
Thyagarajan, N., Jacobs, D. C., Bowman, J. D., et al.

We confirm our recent prediction of the “pitchfork” foreground signature in power spectra of high-redshift 21 cm measurements where the interferometer is sensitive to large-scale structure on all baselines. This is due to the inherent response of a wide-field instrument and is characterized by enhanced power from foreground emission in Fourier modes adjacent to those considered to be the most sensitive to the cosmological HI signal. In our recent paper, many signatures from the simulation that predicted this feature were validated against Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) data, but this key pitchfork signature was close to the noise level. In this paper, we improve the data sensitivity through the coherent averaging of 12 independent snapshots with identical instrument settings and provide the first confirmation of the prediction with a signal-to-noise ratio > 10. This wide-field effect can be mitigated by careful antenna designs that suppress sensitivity near the horizon. Simple models for antenna apertures that have been proposed for future instruments such as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and the Square Kilometre Array indicate they should suppress foreground leakage from the pitchfork by ~40 dB relative to the MWA and significantly increase the likelihood of cosmological signal detection in these critical Fourier modes in the three-dimensional power spectrum.

2015, The Astrophysical Journal, 804, 14
Thyagarajan, N., Jacobs, D. C., Bowman, J. D., et al.

Detection of 21 cm emission of H i from the epoch of reionization, at redshifts z\gt 6, is limited primarily by foreground emission. We investigate the signatures of wide-field measurements and an all-sky foreground model using the delay spectrum technique that maps the measurements to foreground object locations through signal delays between antenna pairs. We demonstrate interferometric measurements are inherently sensitive to all scales, including the largest angular scales, owing to the nature of wide-field measurements. These wide-field effects are generic to all observations but antenna shapes impact their amplitudes substantially. A dish-shaped antenna yields the most desirable features from a foreground contamination viewpoint, relative to a dipole or a phased array. Comparing data from recent Murchison Widefield Array observations, we demonstrate that the foreground signatures that have the largest impact on the H i signal arise from power received far away from the primary field of view. We identify diffuse emission near the horizon as a significant contributing factor, even on wide antenna spacings that usually represent structures on small scales. For signals entering through the primary field of view, compact emission dominates the foreground contamination. These two mechanisms imprint a characteristic pitchfork signature on the “foreground wedge” in Fourier delay space. Based on these results, we propose that selective down-weighting of data based on antenna spacing and time can mitigate foreground contamination substantially by a factor of ~100 with negligible loss of sensitivity.

2013he Astrophysical Journal, 776, 6
Thyagarajan, N., Udaya Shankar, N., Subrahmanyan, R., et al.

In this paper, we explore for the first time the relative magnitudes of three fundamental sources of uncertainty, namely, foreground contamination, thermal noise, and sample variance, in detecting the H I power spectrum from the epoch of reionization (EoR). We derive limits on the sensitivity of a Fourier synthesis telescope to detect EoR based on its array configuration and a statistical representation of images made by the instrument. We use the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) configuration for our studies. Using a unified framework for estimating signal and noise components in the H I power spectrum, we derive an expression for and estimate the contamination from extragalactic point-like sources in three-dimensional k-space. Sensitivity for EoR H I power spectrum detection is estimated for different observing modes with MWA. With 1000 hr of observing on a single field using the 128 tile MWA, EoR detection is feasible (S/N >1 for k <~ 0.8 Mpc-1). Bandpass shaping and refinements to the EoR window are found to be effective in containing foreground contamination, which makes the instrument tolerant to imaging errors. We find that for a given observing time, observing many independent fields of view does not offer an advantage over a single field observation when thermal noise dominates over other uncertainties in the derived power spectrum.

2011, The Astrophysical Journal, 742, 49
Thyagarajan, N., Helfand, D. J., White, R. L., & Becker, R. H.
The Astrophysical Journal, 74

A comprehensive search for variable and transient radio sources has been conducted using ~55,000 snapshot images of the Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm survey. We present an analysis leading to the discovery of 1627 variable and transient objects down to mJy levels over a wide range of timescales (a few minutes to years). Variations observed range from 20% to a factor of 25. Multi-wavelength matching for counterparts reveals the diverse classes of objects exhibiting variability, ranging from nearby stars and pulsars to galaxies and distant quasars. Interestingly, more than half of the objects in the sample have either no classified counterparts or no corresponding sources at any other wavelength and require multi-wavelength follow-up observations. We discuss these classes of variables and speculate on the identity of objects that lack multi-wavelength counterparts.

2016, arXiv:1602.03887 (submitted to The Astrophysical Journal)
Neben, A. R., … Thyagarajan, N., et al.

The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) is a radio interferometer aiming to detect the power spectrum of 21cm fluctuations from neutral hydrogen from the Epoch of Reionization (EOR). Drawing on lessons from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER), HERA is a hexagonal array of large (14m diameter) dishes with suspended dipole feeds. Not only does the dish determine overall sensitivity, it affects the observed frequency structure of foregrounds in the interferometer. This is the first of a series of four papers characterizing the frequency and angular response of the dish with simulations and measurements. We focus in this paper on the angular response (i.e., power pattern), which sets the relative weighting between sky regions of high and low delay, and thus, apparent source frequency structure. We measure the angular response at 137MHz using the ORBCOMM beam mapping system of Neben et al. We measure a collecting area of 93m^2 in the optimal dish/feed configuration, implying HERA-320 should detect the EOR power spectrum at z=9 with a signal-to-noise ratio of 19.3 using a foreground avoidance approach, and 74.3 using a foreground subtraction approach. Lastly we study the impact of these beam measurements on the distribution of foregrounds in Fourier space.

2016, arXiv:1602.02247 (accepted in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society)
Offringa, A. R., … Thyagarajan, N., et al. [41 authors]

Experiments that pursue detection of signals from the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) are relying on spectral smoothness of source spectra at low frequencies. This article empirically explores the effect of foreground spectra on EoR experiments by measuring high-resolution full-polarization spectra for the 586 brightest unresolved sources in one of the MWA EoR fields using 45 h of observation. A novel peeling scheme is used to subtract 2500 sources from the visibilities with ionospheric and beam corrections, resulting in the deepest, confusion-limited MWA image so far. The resulting spectra are found to be affected by instrumental effects, which limit the constraints that can be set on source-intrinsic spectral structure. The sensitivity and power-spectrum of the spectra are analysed, and it is found that the spectra of residuals are dominated by PSF sidelobes from nearby undeconvolved sources. We release a catalogue describing the spectral parameters for each measured source.

2016, arXiv:1601.06177 (accepted in The Astrophysical Journal)
Pober, J. C., … Thyagarajan, N., et al. [69 authors]

In this paper we present observations, simulations, and analysis demonstrating the direct connection between the location of foreground emission on the sky and its location in cosmological power spectra from interferometric redshifted 21 cm experiments. We begin with a heuristic formalism for understanding the mapping of sky coordinates into the cylindrically averaged power spectra measurements used by 21 cm experiments, with a focus on the effects of the instrument beam response and the associated sidelobes. We then demonstrate this mapping by analyzing power spectra with both simulated and observed data from the Murchison Widefield Array. We find that removing a foreground model which includes sources in both the main field-of-view and the first sidelobes reduces the contamination in high k_parallel modes by several percent relative to a model which only includes sources in the main field-of-view, with the completeness of the foreground model setting the principal limitation on the amount of power removed. While small, a percent-level amount of foreground power is in itself more than enough to prevent recovery of any EoR signal from these modes. This result demonstrates that foreground subtraction for redshifted 21 cm experiments is truly a wide-field problem, and algorithms and simulations must extend beyond the main instrument field-of-view to potentially recover the full 21 cm power spectrum.

2016, arXiv:1601.02073 (accepted in The Astrophysical Journal)
Trott, C. M., … Thyagarajan, N., et al. [52 authors]

Detection of the cosmological neutral hydrogen signal from the Epoch of Reionization, and estimation of its basic physical parameters, is the principal scientific aim of many current low-frequency radio telescopes. Here we describe the Cosmological HI Power Spectrum Estimator (CHIPS), an algorithm developed and implemented with data from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), to compute the two-dimensional and spherically-averaged power spectrum of brightness temperature fluctuations. The principal motivations for CHIPS are the application of realistic instrumental and foreground models to form the optimal estimator, thereby maximising the likelihood of unbiased signal estimation, and allowing a full covariant understanding of the outputs. CHIPS employs an inverse-covariance weighting of the data through the maximum likelihood estimator, thereby allowing use of the full parameter space for signal estimation (“foreground suppression”). We describe the motivation for the algorithm, implementation, application to real and simulated data, and early outputs. Upon application to a set of 3 hours of data, we set a 2$\sigma$ upper limit on the EoR dimensionless power at $k=0.05$~h.Mpc$^{-1}$ of $\Delta_k^2<7.6\times{10^4}$~mK$^2$ in the redshift range $z=[6.2-6.6]$, consistent with previous estimates.

2015, Physical Review D, 91, 123011
Dillon, J. S., Neben, A. R., … Thyagarajan, N., et al. [55 authors]

The separation of the faint cosmological background signal from bright astrophysical foregrounds remains one of the most daunting challenges of mapping the high-redshift intergalactic medium with the redshifted 21 cm line of neutral hydrogen. Advances in mapping and modeling of diffuse and point source foregrounds have improved subtraction accuracy, but no subtraction scheme is perfect. Precisely quantifying the errors and error correlations due to missubtracted foregrounds allows for both the rigorous analysis of the 21 cm power spectrum and for the maximal isolation of the “EoR window” from foreground contamination. We present a method to infer the covariance of foreground residuals from the data itself in contrast to previous attempts at a priori modeling. We demonstrate our method by setting limits on the power spectrum using a 3 h integration from the 128-tile Murchison Widefield Array. Observing between 167 and 198 MHz, we find at 95% confidence a best limit of Delta2(k )<3.7 ×104 mK2 at comoving scale k =0.18 h Mpc-1 and at z =6.8 , consistent with existing limits.

2015, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 32, 8
Offringa, A. R., Wayth, R. B., … Thyagarajan, N., et al. [65 authors]

The Murchison Widefield Array is a new low-frequency interferometric radio telescope built in Western Australia at one of the locations of the future Square Kilometre Array. We describe the automated radio-frequency interference detection strategy implemented for the Murchison Widefield Array, which is based on the aoflagger platform, and present 72-231 MHz radio-frequency interference statistics from 10 observing nights. Radio-frequency interference detection removes 1.1% of the data. Radio-frequency interference from digital TV is observed 3% of the time due to occasional ionospheric or atmospheric propagation. After radio-frequency interference detection and excision, almost all data can be calibrated and imaged without further radio-frequency interference mitigation efforts, including observations within the FM and digital TV bands. The results are compared to a previously published Low-Frequency Array radio-frequency interference survey. The remote location of the Murchison Widefield Array results in a substantially cleaner radio-frequency interference environment compared to Low-Frequency Array’s radio environment, but adequate detection of radio-frequency interference is still required before data can be analysed. We include specific recommendations designed to make the Square Kilometre Array more robust to radio-frequency interference, including: the availability of sufficient computing power for radio-frequency interference detection; accounting for radio-frequency interference in the receiver design; a smooth band-pass response; and the capability of radio-frequency interference detection at high time and frequency resolution (second and kHz-scale respectively).

 

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