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Title: Searching for Exoplanets Using Artificial Intelligence
Author: Kyle A. Pearson, Leon Palafox, Caitlin A. Griffith

In the last decade, over a million stars were monitored to detect transiting planets. Manual interpretation of potential exoplanet candidates is labour intensive and subject to human error, the results of which are difficult to quantify. Here we present a new method of detecting exoplanet candidates in large planetary search projects which, unlike current methods uses a neural network. Neural networks, also called "deep learning" or "deep nets", are a state of the art machine learning technique designed to give a computer perception into a specific problem by training it to recognize patterns. Unlike past transit detection algorithms deep nets learn to recognize planet features instead of relying on hand-coded metrics that humans perceive as the most representative. Our deep learning algorithms are capable of detecting Earth-like exoplanets in noisy time-series data with 99% accuracy compared to a 73% accuracy using least-squares. For planet signals smaller than the noise we devise a method for finding periodic transits using a phase folding technique that yields a constraint when fitting for the orbital period. Deep nets are highly generalizable allowing data to be evaluated from different time series after interpolation. We validate our deep net on light curves from the Kepler mission and detect periodic transits similar to the true period without any model fitting.

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ESOcast 79: 20 Years of Exoplanets

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Kepler, Exoplanets and SETI - Geoff Marcy (SETI Talks)

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Science fiction portrays our Milky Way Galaxy as filled with habitable planets populated by advanced civilizations engaged in interstellar trade and conflict. Back in our real universe, Earth-like planets and alien life have proved elusive. Has science fiction led us astray? NASA has launched a space-borne telescope, Kepler, dedicated to discovering the first Earth-like worlds around other stars. The first results are startling and profound. How common are worlds that are suitable for life? What properties make a planet livable? Can we estimate the occurrence of life in the universe, especially intelligent life? New telescopic and biological observations are providing the first answers to these questions. And new techniques are emerging to provide those answers.



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