Volume 650, June 2021
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||08 June 2021|
Fourier domain excision of periodic radio frequency interference
ASTRON, The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
2 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Accepted: 22 March 2021
The discovery and study of pulsars and fast radio bursts (FRBs) in time-domain radio data is often hampered by radio frequency interference (RFI). Some of this terrestrial RFI is impulsive and bright, and relatively easy to identify and remove. Other anthropogenic signals, however, are weaker yet periodic, and their persistence can drown out astrophysical signals. Here we show that Fourier-domain excision of periodic RFI is an effective and powerful step in detecting weak cosmic signals. We find that applying the method significantly increases the signal-to-noise ratio of transient and periodic pulsar signals. In live studies we detected single pulses from pulsars and FRBs that would otherwise have remained buried in background noise. We show the method has no negative effects on pulsar pulse shape, and that it enhances timing campaigns. We demonstrate the method on real-life data from a number of large radio telescopes, and conclude that Fourier-domain RFI excision increases the effective sensitivity to astrophysical sources by a significant fraction, which can be even larger than an order of magnitude in the case of strong RFI. An accelerated implementation of the method runs on standard time-domain radio data formats and is publicly available.
Key words: methods: data analysis / methods: observational / techniques: miscellaneous / pulsars: general / stars: magnetars / stars: neutron
© ESO 2021
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