Neutral hydrogen intensity mapping on small scales using MeerKAT
In the post-reionisation universe, intensity mapping (IM) with the 21 cm line of neutral hydrogen (HI) provides a potential means of probing the large-scale structure of the universe. With such a probe, a wide variety of interesting phenomena such as the Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO) and Redshift Space Distortions (RSD) can be studied. The MeerKAT telescope has the potential to make full use of this technique, especially in the single-dish mode, which will probe the scales relevant to BAO and RSD. A useful complementary of this is HI IM with MeerKAT in interferometer-mode, which will enable the extraction of cosmological information on semi-linear and small scales. In this study, full end-to-end simulations of interferometric observations with MeerKAT for HI IM were developed. With this, the power spectrum extraction was analysed using the foreground avoidance technique. This took into account the foreground wedge from point source contamination extracted from real MIGHTEE COSMOS data, as well as RFI flagging. The errors on the power spectrum estimator were then calculated through a Monte Carlo process using 1000s of realisations of both the thermal noise and HI signal. In doing so, precision constraints on the HI power spectrum are found at z = 0:27 on scales 0:4 < k < 10 Mpc-1 for mock visibility data sets which contain the HI signal contaminated by noise, mimicking the MIGHTEE COSMOS field for total observation times & 20 hours. These results illustrate the potential of doing precision cosmology with MeerKAT’s MIGHTEE survey and interferometer-mode HI IM.