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Lessons learned from the 1st Ariel Machine Learning Challenge: Correcting transiting exoplanet light curves for stellar spots

Nikolaou, Nikolaos, Waldmann, Ingo P., Tsiaras, Angelos, Morvan, Mario, Edwards, Billy, Yip, Kai Hou, Thompson, Alexandra, Tinetti, Giovanna, Sarkar, Subhajit, Dawson, James M., Borisov, Vadim, Kasneci, Gjergji, Petkovic, Matej, Stepisnik, Tomaz, Al-Ubaidi, Tarek, Bailey, Rachel Louise, Granitzer, Michael, Julka, Sahib, Kern, Roman, Ofner, Patrick, Wagner, Stefan, Heppe, Lukas, Bunse, Mirko, Morik, Katharina and Simões, Luís F. 2023. Lessons learned from the 1st Ariel Machine Learning Challenge: Correcting transiting exoplanet light curves for stellar spots. RAS Techniques and Instruments 2 (1) , pp. 695-709. 10.1093/rasti/rzad050

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The last decade has witnessed a rapid growth of the field of exoplanet discovery and characterisation. However, several big challenges remain, many of which could be addressed using machine learning methodology. For instance, the most prolific method for detecting exoplanets and inferring several of their characteristics, transit photometry, is very sensitive to the presence of stellar spots. The current practice in the literature is to identify the effects of spots visually and correct for them manually or discard the affected data. This paper explores a first step towards fully automating the efficient and precise derivation of transit depths from transit light curves in the presence of stellar spots. The primary focus of the paper is to present in detail a diverse arsenal of methods for doing so. The methods and results we present were obtained in the context of the 1st Machine Learning Challenge organized for the European Space Agency’s upcoming Ariel mission. We first present the problem, the simulated Ariel-like data and outline the Challenge while identifying best practices for organizing similar challenges in the future. Finally, we present the solutions obtained by the top-5 winning teams, provide their code and discuss their implications. Successful solutions either construct highly non-linear (w.r.t. the raw data) models with minimal preprocessing –deep neural networks and ensemble methods– or amount to obtaining meaningful statistics from the light curves, constructing linear models on which yields comparably good predictive performance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 2752-8200
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 25 October 2023
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2024 23:26

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