A first quantification of the effects of absorption for HI Intensity Mapping experiments

Abstract : HI Intensity Mapping (IM) will be used to do precision cosmology using many existing and upcoming radio observatories. The signal will be contaminated due to absorption, the largest component of which will be the flux absorbed by the HI emitting sources themselves from the flux incident on them from background radio continuum sources. We, for the first time, provide a quantitative estimate of the magnitude of the absorbed flux compared to the emitted HI flux for various voxels placed at redshifts between 0.1 and 2.5. We use a cosmological sky simulation of the atomic HI emission line, and sum over the emitted and absorbed fluxes for all sources within voxels at different redshifts. For estimating the absorbed flux we use various relations based on existing observations as well as simulations. We find that for the same co-moving volume of sky, the HI emission falls off quickly with increasing redshift, while the absorption varies much less with redshift and follows the redshift distribution of faint sources that dominate the number counts of radio continuum sources. This results in the fraction of absorption compared to emission to be negligible in the nearby Universe (up to a redshift of ~0.5), increases to about 10% at a redshift of 1, and continues to increase to about 30% up to a redshift of 2.5. These numbers can vary significantly due to the uncertainties on the exact forms of the various relations used, the largest variation being driven by the uncertainty on the number counts of radio continuum sources at sub-mJy flux densities. Absorption of flux incident from background radio continuum sources might become an important contaminant to HI IM signals beyond redshifts of 0.5, and needs to be quantified more accurately using inputs from upcoming deep high resolution surveys of radio continuum sources, HI absorption, and HI emission with the SKA and its precursors.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 1:17:45 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 5:55:51 AM

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Sambit Roychowdhury, Clive Dickinson, Ian W.A. Browne. A first quantification of the effects of absorption for HI Intensity Mapping experiments. Astron.Astrophys., 2019, 631, pp.A115. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201936139⟩. ⟨hal-02350222⟩

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