Opening the 21cm EoR Window: Measurements of Foreground Isolation with PAPER
We present new observations with the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) with the aim of measuring the properties of foreground emission for 21cm Epoch of Reionization experiments at 150 MHz. We focus on the footprint of the foregrounds in cosmological Fourier space to understand which modes of the 21cm power spectrum will most likely be compromised by foreground emission. These observations confirm predictions that foregrounds can be isolated to a "wedge"-like region of 2D (k-perendicular, k-parallel)-space, creating a window for cosmological studies at higher k-parallel values. We also find that the emission extends past the nominal edge of this wedge due to inherent spectral structure in the foregrounds themselves, with this feature most prominent on the shortest baselines. Finally, we filter the data to retain only this "unsmooth" emission and image it. The resultant image shows an excess of power on large angular scales, but no emission can be clearly localized to any one region of the sky. This image is highly suggestive that the most problematic foregrounds for 21cm EoR studies will not be easily identifiable bright sources, but rather an aggregate of fainter emission.