Jack Burns, Stuart Bale, Richard Bradley, Z. Ahmed, S.W. Allen, J. Bowman, S. Furlanetto, R. MacDowall, J. Mirocha, B. Nhan, M. Pivovaroff, M. Pulupa, D. Rapetti, A. Slosar, K. Tauscher

One of the last unexplored windows to the cosmos, the Dark Ages and Cosmic Dawn, can be opened using a simple low frequency radio telescope from the stable, quiet lunar farside to measure the Global 21-cm spectrum. This frontier remains an enormous gap in our knowledge of the Universe. Standard models of physics and cosmology are untested during this critical epoch. The messenger of information about this period is the 1420 MHz (21-cm) radiation from the hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen, Doppler-shifted to low radio astronomy frequencies by the expansion of the Universe. The Global 21-cm spectrum uniquely probes the cosmological model during the Dark Ages plus the evolving astrophysics during Cosmic Dawn, yielding constraints on the first stars, on accreting black holes, and on exotic physics such as dark matter-baryon interactions. A single low frequency radio telescope can measure the Global spectrum between ~10-110 MHz because of the ubiquity of neutral hydrogen. Precise characterizations of the telescope and its surroundings are required to detect this weak, isotropic emission of hydrogen amidst the bright foreground Galactic radiation. We describe how two antennas will permit observations over the full frequency band: a pair of orthogonal wire antennas and a 0.3-m3 patch antenna. A four-channel correlation spectropolarimeter forms the core of the detector electronics. Technology challenges include advanced calibration techniques to disentangle covariances between a bright foreground and a weak 21-cm signal, using techniques similar to those for the CMB, thermal management for temperature swings of >250C, and efficient power to allow operations through a two-week lunar night. This simple telescope sets the stage for a lunar farside interferometric array to measure the Dark Ages power spectrum.

Subjects: Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO)

Cite as: arXiv:2103.05085 [astro-ph.CO] (or arXiv:2103.05085v1 [astro-ph.CO] for this version)

Submission history

From: Jack BurnsĀ 

[v1] Mon, 8 Mar 2021 21:30:56 UTC (1,347 KB)