Over the past decade, the study of exoplanets has shifted from their detection to the characterization of their atmospheres. Atmospheric retrieval, the inverse modeling technique used to determine an atmosphere's temperature and composition from an observed spectrum, is both time-consuming and compute-intensive, requiring complex algorithms that compare thousands to millions of atmospheric models to the observational data to find the most probable values and associated uncertainties for each model parameter. For rocky, terrestrial planets, the retrieved atmospheric composition can give insight into the surface fluxes of gaseous species necessary to maintain the stability of that atmosphere, which may in turn provide insight into the geological and/or biological processes active on the planet. These atmospheres contain many molecules, some of which are biosignatures, or molecules indicative of biological activity. Runtimes of traditional retrieval models scale with the number of model parameters, so as more molecular species are considered, runtimes can become prohibitively long. Recent advances in machine learning (ML) and computer vision offer new ways to reduce the time to perform a retrieval by orders of magnitude, given a sufficient data set to train with. Here we present an ML-based retrieval framework called Intelligent exoplaNet Atmospheric RetrievAl (INARA) that consists of a Bayesian deep learning model for retrieval and a data set of 3,000,000 spectra of synthetic rocky exoplanets generated using the NASA Planetary Spectrum Generator (PSG). Our work represents the first ML model for rocky, terrestrial exoplanets and the first synthetic data set of spectra generated at this scale.
11/08/2018 ∙ by Frank Soboczenski, et al. ∙ 0 ∙ share
Machine learning is now used in many areas of astrophysics, from detecting exoplanets in Kepler transit signals to removing telescope systematics. Recent work demonstrated the potential of using machine learning algorithms for atmospheric retrieval by implementing a random forest to perform retrievals in seconds that are consistent with the traditional, computationally-expensive nested-sampling retrieval method. We expand upon their approach by presenting a new machine learning model, plan-net, based on an ensemble of Bayesian neural networks that yields more accurate inferences than the random forest for the same data set of synthetic transmission spectra. We demonstrate that an ensemble provides greater accuracy and more robust uncertainties than a single model. In addition to being the first to use Bayesian neural networks for atmospheric retrieval, we also introduce a new loss function for Bayesian neural networks that learns correlations between the model outputs. Importantly, we show that designing machine learning models to explicitly incorporate domain-specific knowledge both improves performance and provides additional insight by inferring the covariance of the retrieved atmospheric parameters. We apply plan-net to the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 transmission spectrum for WASP-12b and retrieve an isothermal temperature and water abundance consistent with the literature. We highlight that our method is flexible and can be expanded to higher-resolution spectra and a larger number of atmospheric parameters.
05/25/2019 ∙ by Adam D. Cobb, et al. ∙ 0 ∙ share
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