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Constraining a Model of the Radio Sky below 6 MHz Using the Parker Solar Probe/FIELDS Instrument in Preparation for Upcoming Lunar-based Experiments

AuthorBassett, Neil; Rapetti, David; Nhan, Bang; Page, Brent; Burns, Jack; Pulupa, Marc; Bale, Stuart;
KeywordsParker Data Used; Radio astronomy; Astronomy data analysis; Bayesian statistics; Nested sampling; Cosmology; Interstellar synchrotron emission; Interstellar absorption; 1338; 1858; 1900; 1894; 343; 856; 831; Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies; Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
AbstractWe present a Bayesian analysis of data from the FIELDS instrument on board the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft with the aim of constraining low-frequency (\ensuremath\lesssim6 MHz) sky in preparation for several upcoming lunar-based experiments. We utilize data recorded during PSP s coning roll maneuvers, in which the axis of the spacecraft is pointed 45\textdegree off of the Sun. The spacecraft then rotates about a line between the Sun and the spacecraft with a period of 24 minutes. We reduce the data into two formats: roll-averaged, in which the spectra are averaged over the roll, and phase-binned, in which the spectra are binned according to the phase of the roll. We construct a forward model of the FIELDS observations that includes numerical simulations of the antenna beam, an analytic emissivity function of the galaxy, and estimates of the absorption due to free electrons. Fitting 5 parameters, we find that the roll-averaged data can be fit well by this model, and we obtain posterior parameter constraints that are in general agreement with previous estimates. The model is not, however, able to fit the phase-binned data well, likely due to limitations such as the lack of nonsmooth emission structure at both small and large scales, enforced symmetry between the northern and southern galactic hemispheres, and large uncertainties in the free electron density. This suggests that significant improvement in the low-frequency sky model is needed in order to fully and accurately represent the sky at frequencies below 6 MHz.
Year of Publication2023
Number of Pages134
Date Publishedmar