Source finding in linear polarization for LOFAR, and SKA predecessor surveys, using Faraday moments
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2018

The optimal source-finding strategy for linear polarization data is an unsolved problem, with many inhibitive factors imposed by the technically challenging nature of polarization observations. Such an algorithm is essential for Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder surveys, such as the Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey with the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR), as data volumes are significant enough to prohibit manual inspection. We present a new strategy of 'Faraday Moments' for source-finding in linear polarization with LOFAR, using the moments of the frequency-dependent full-Stokes data (i.e. the mean, standard deviation, skewness, and excess kurtosis). Through simulations of the sky, we find that moments can identify polarized sources with a high completeness: 98.5 per cent at a signal to noise of 5. While the method has low reliability, rotation measure (RM) synthesis can be applied per candidate source to filter out instrumental and spurious detections. This combined strategy will result in a complete and reliable catalogue of polarized sources that includes the full sensitivity of the observational bandwidth. We find that the technique can reduce the number of pixels on which RM Synthesis needs to be performed by a factor of ≈1 × 10 5 for source distributions anticipated with modern radio telescopes. Through tests on LOFAR data, we find that the technique works effectively in the presence of diffuse emission. Extensions of this method are directly applicable to other upcoming radio surveys such as the POlarization Sky Survey of the Universe's Magnetism with the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, and the SKA itself.

methods: data analysis -methods: observational

Magnetic fields


techniques: image processing

techniques: polarimetric


J.S. Farnes

Radboud Universiteit

Oxford e-Research Centre

G. Heald

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

H. Junklewitz

Max Planck-institutet

D. D. Mulcahy

University of Manchester

M. Haverkorn

Radboud Universiteit

C.L. Van Eck

Radboud Universiteit

C. J. Riseley

University of Southampton

University of Manchester

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

M. Brentjens

Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)

Cathy Horellou

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Astronomi och plasmafysik, Extragalaktisk astrofysik

V. Vacca

Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari

D. I. Jones

Radboud Universiteit

A. Horneffer

Max Planck-institutet

R. Paladino

INAF Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Bologna

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

0035-8711 (ISSN) 1365-2966 (eISSN)

Vol. 474 3280-3296




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