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EDGES

EDGES: Experiment to Detect the Global EoR Signature

See also the MIT EDGES memo series and the ASU EDGES memo series.

EDGES is a collaboration between Arizona State University and MIT Haystack Observatory, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in a radio-quiet zone in western Australia, with onsite infrastructure support provided by Australia’s CSIRO

The latest EDGES research is available from Nature, An absorption profile centred at 78 megahertz in the sky-averaged spectrum.

The MIT News article on EDGES is available at http://news.mit.edu/2018/astronomers-detect-earliest-evidence-yet-hydrogen-universe-0228.

The NSF has created an excellent video explanation of the EDGES signal detection:

The project’s goal is radio detection of hydrogen signatures from the historical period in the formation of the universe known as the Epoch of Reionization (EoR), soon after the formation of the first stars and galaxies.

An excellent detailed explanation of the cosmological mysteries being investigated by EDGES scientists is available from ASU.

Technology

EDGES is a small, ground-based antenna system including a low-band and a high-band instrument, a receiver, a spectrometer, and a ground plane, as well as associated electronics and other components.

The equipment consists of a broadband antenna, about 2 meters long and 1 meter high, covering a range of 50–100 MHz; a metal ground plane, 30 x 30 m; and a receiver under the ground plane connected via underground cables to a digital radio spectrometer in an electronics hut situated at a distance of 100 meters. The instrument is located away in the radio-quiet zone of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The electronics has both built-in calibration that operates in the field, as well as accurate calibration of the low noise amplifier and the internal antenna reflection measurement system standards made in the laboratory.

The antennas and portions of the receiver were designed and constructed by MIT Haystack Observatory’s Dr. Alan Rogers and the Haystack team; Judd Bowman, Raul Monsalve, and the ASU team added an automated antenna reflection measurement system to the receiver, outfitted the control hut with the electronics, constructed the ground plane, and conducted the field work for the project. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization provides on-site infrastructure for the EDGES project.

EDGES in western Australia (Judd Bowman/ASU) testing EDGES at Haystack

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