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Machine-learning Approaches to Exoplanet Transit Detection and Candidate Validation in Wide-field Ground-based Surveys

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2018

N. Schanche, A. Collier Cameron, G. Hébrard, L. Nielsen, A. H.M.J. Triaud, J.M. Almenara, K.A. Alsubai, D.R. Anderson, D.J. Armstrong, S.C.C. Barros, F. Bouchy, P. Boumis, D.J.A. Brown, F. Faedi, K. Hay, L. Hebb, F. Kiefer, L. Mancini, P.F.L. Maxted, E. Palle, D.L. Pollacco, D. Queloz, B. Smalley, S. Udry, R. West, P.J. Wheatley

(Submitted on 19 Nov 2018)

Since the start of the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) program, more than 160 transiting exoplanets have been discovered in the WASP data. In the past, possible transit-like events identified by the WASP pipeline have been vetted by human inspection to eliminate false alarms and obvious false positives. The goal of the present paper is to assess the effectiveness of machine learning as a fast, automated, and reliable means of performing the same functions on ground-based wide-field transit-survey data without human intervention. To this end, we have created training and test datasets made up of stellar light curves showing a variety of signal types including planetary transits, eclipsing binaries, variable stars, and non-periodic signals. We use a combination of machine learning methods including Random Forest Classifiers (RFCs) and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) to distinguish between the different types of signals. The final algorithms correctly identify planets in the test data ~90% of the time, although each method on its own has a significant fraction of false positives. We find that in practice, a combination of different methods offers the best approach to identifying the most promising exoplanet transit candidates in data from WASP, and by extension similar transit surveys.

Comments: 15 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)

Cite as: arXiv:1811.07754 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1811.07754v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Andrew Collier Cameron  

[v1] Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:47:42 UTC (7,436 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/1811.07754

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