Letters of Intent received in 2022

LoI 2024-2176
GA Focus Meeting: Exploring the Cosmic Dawn with the Square Kilometre Array

Date: 6 August 2024 to 7 August 2024
Category: Focus meetings (GA)
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Contact: Cathryn TROTT (cathryn.trott@curtin.edu.au)
Coordinating division: Division J Galaxies and Cosmology
Other divisions: Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science
Co-Chairs of SOC: Cathryn Trott (Curtin University)
Leon Koopmans (Kapteyn Institute, RuG)
Chair of LOC: Gianni Bernardi (INAF)



Cosmic-Dawn and Epoch of Reionization Science with the redshifted 21-cm HI line, angular and spectral properties of SKA antennas; experimental design considerations; optimal observing fields and scan strategy; optimal correlator usage for foreground mitigation; astrophysical parameter extraction with aperture array data.



We would like to propose a two-day Focus Meeting at the XXXII IAU General Assembly in Cape Town in August 2024, entitled “Exploring the Cosmic Dawn with the Square Kilometre Array”. This Focus Meeting would bring together observational astronomers, theoreticians and instrument engineers, to discuss the full end-to-end experiment to explore the 21-cm signal from the Cosmic Dawn (z=15-25) and Epoch of Reionization (z=6-15) with the SKA, from the telescope signal chain, through observations, data interpretation, and astrophysical inference.

The Focus Meeting will be co-chaired by Prof. Cathryn Trott (ICRAR/Curtin) and Prof. Léon Koopmans (Kapteyn Institute/Groningen), with strong support from the SKA EoR/CD Science Working Group Board members: Prof Jonathan Pritchard (Imperial College London), Prof Andrei Mesinger (SNS Pisa), Prof Adrian Liu (McGill), Prof Abhirup Datta (IIT Indore), Prof Gianni Bernardi (INAF-IRA, LOC Chair), Prof Garrelt Mellema (Stockholm), including Prof Cathryn Trott (ICRAR/Curtin) and Prof. Léon Koopmans (Kapteyn/RUG).

Besides an open call for presentations by early-career scientists, several key speakers will be invited from SKA’s precursor and pathfinder 21-cm experiments, among them key theoristicians and observers, and SKA Science Working Group members, paying particular attention to diversity across location, gender and cultural heritage.

The 2024 IAU GA is the perfect time to bring together observational, theoretical researchers and radio engineers of SKA precursor and pathfinder instruments to discuss the key aspects of the SKA system coming online a few years later, define the experimental strategy, and provide realistic expectations for astrophysical returns. The meeting is well-timed with the 64-station AA2 array deployment of SKA-Low expected to be completed in 2025-2026. This forms the first array able to undertake a Cosmic Dawn and Epoch of Reionization redshifted 21-cm science verification program, in consultation with the Science Working Group of more than a hundred members. The AA2 deployment provides sensitivity exceeding that of the SKA-precursor Murchison Widefield Array (AU), and with higher surface brightness sensitivity than its pathfinders LOFAR (NL) and HERA (SA). The SKA AA2 array will provide the first opportunity for engineers and scientists to test end-to-end pipelines to process real, early, shared-risk datasets for scientific outputs, and prepare for its full deployment.