First-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) observations: Data processing methods and systematic error limits

G. Hinshaw, C. Barnes, C. L. Bennett, M. R. Greason, M. Halpern, R. S. Hill, N. Jarosik, A. Kogut, M. Limon, S. S. Meyer, N. Odegard, L. Page, D. N. Spergel, G. S. Tucker, J. L. Weiland, E. Wollack, E. L. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


We describe the calibration and data processing methods used to generate full-sky maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) from the first year of Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) observations. Detailed limits on residual systematic errors are assigned based largely on analyses of the flight data supplemented, where necessary, with results from ground tests. The data are calibrated in flight using the dipole modulation of the CMB due to the observatory's motion around the Sun. This constitutes a full-beam calibration source. An iterative algorithm simultaneously fits the time-ordered data to obtain calibration parameters and pixelized sky map temperatures. The noise properties are determined by analyzing the time-ordered data with this sky signal estimate subtracted. Based on this, we apply a prewhitening filter to the time-ordered data to remove a low level of 1/f noise. We infer and correct for a small (∼1%) transmission imbalance between the two sky inputs to each differential radiometer, and we subtract a small sidelobe correction from the 23 GHz (K-band) map prior to further analysis. No other systematic error corrections are applied to the data. Calibration and baseline artifacts, including the response to environmental perturbations, are negligible. Systematic uncertainties are comparable to statistical uncertainties in the characterization of the beam response. Both are accounted for in the covariance matrix of the window function and are propagated to uncertainties in the final power spectrum. We characterize the combined upper limits to residual systematic uncertainties through the pixel covariance matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-95
Number of pages33
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmic microwave background
  • Cosmology: observations
  • Instrumentation: detectors
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Space vehicles: instruments


Dive into the research topics of 'First-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) observations: Data processing methods and systematic error limits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this