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Transiting Exoplanet Discovery Using Machine Learning Techniques: A Survey

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Spatial missions such as the Kepler mission, and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, have encouraged data scientists to analyze light curve datasets. The purpose of analyzing these data is to look for planet transits, with the aim of discovering and validating exoplanets, which are planets found outside our Solar System. Furthermore, transiting exoplanets can be better characterized when light curves and radial velocity curves are available. The manual examination of these datasets is a task that requires big quantities of time and effort, and therefore is prone to errors. As a result, the application of machine learning methods has become more common on exoplanet discovery and categorization research. This survey presents an analysis on different exoplanet transit discovery algorithms based on machine learning, some of which even found new exoplanets. The analysis of these algorithms is divided into four steps, namely light curve preprocessing, possible exoplanet signal detection, and identification of the detected signal to decide whether it belongs to an exoplanet or not. We propose a model to create synthetic datasets of light curves, and we compare the performance of several machine learning models used to identify transit exoplanets, with inputs preprocessed with and without using the Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT). Our experimental results allow us to conclude that multiresolution analysis in the time-frequency domain can improve exoplanet signal identification, because of the characteristics of light curves and transiting exoplanet signals.

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  4. NASA Exoplanet Archive:





    Fig. 2
    figure 2

    Example of a light curve. As the exoplanet orbits the star, different brightness values are obtained. Some parameters that can be extracted from a light curve are: Beginning of ingress (t1); end of ingress (t2); beginning of egress (t3); end of egress (t4); transit length; and transit depth


    Fig. 4
    figure 4

    Real light curve extracted from the planetary system around the star HIP 41378 in the MAST archive. The x-axis represents a measure of time called Barycentric Julian Day (BJD); the value 2454833 that accompanies the x-axis title, is to be summed to the x-axis value in order to calculate the BJD for each measurement. The y-axis represents the brightness of the star. This figure was created by following the Transit Light Curve Tutorial


  11. retrieved in 20/01/2019.







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The authors would like to thank the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) and the Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) for their support through the doctoral scholarship program. Also, the authors would like to thank Kyle A. Pearson for his valuable feedback regarding the light curve preprocessing step. This paper includes data collected by the Kepler mission and obtained from the MAST data archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Funding for the Kepler mission is provided by the NASA Science Mission Directorate. STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5–26555.

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Correspondence to Vicente Alarcon-Aquino.

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Communicated by:H. Babaie

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Jara-Maldonado, M., Alarcon-Aquino, V., Rosas-Romero, R. et al. Transiting Exoplanet Discovery Using Machine Learning Techniques: A Survey. Earth Sci Inform 13, 573–600 (2020).

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