From top-hat masking to smooth transitions: P-filter and its application to polarized microwave sky maps
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
In CMB science, the simplest idea to remove a contaminated sky region is to multiply the sky map with a mask that is 0 for the contaminated region and 1 elsewhere, which is also called a top-hat masking. Although it is easy to use, such top-hat masking is known to suffer from various leakage problems. Therefore, we want to extend the top-hat masking to a series of semi-analytic functions called the P-filters. Most importantly, the P-filters can seamlessly realize the core idea of masking in CMB
... science, and, meanwhile, guarantee continuity up to the first derivative everywhere. The P-filters can significantly reduce many leakage problems without additional cost, including the leakages due to low-, high-, and band-pass filtering, and the E-to-E, B-to-B, B-to-E, and E-to-B leakages. The workings of the P-filter are illustrated by using the WMAP and Planck polarization sky maps. By comparison to the corresponding WMAP/Planck masks, we show that the P-filter performs much better than top-hat masking, and meanwhile, has the potential to supersede the principal idea of masking in CMB science. Compared to mask apodization, the P-filter is "outward", that tends to make proper use of the region that was marked as 0; whereas apodization is "inward", that always kills more signal in the region marked as 1.