QuasarNET: Human-level spectral classification and redshifting with Deep Neural Networks

by   Nicolas Busca, et al.

We introduce QuasarNET, a deep convolutional neural network that performs classification and redshift estimation of astrophysical spectra with human-expert accuracy. We pose these two tasks as a feature detection problem: presence or absence of spectral features determines the class, and their wavelength determines the redshift, very much like human-experts proceed. When ran on BOSS data to identify quasars through their emission lines, QuasarNET defines a sample 99.51±0.03% pure and 99.52±0.03% complete, well above the requirements of many analyses using these data. QuasarNET significantly reduces the problem of line-confusion that induces catastrophic redshift failures to below 0.2%. We also extend QuasarNET to classify spectra with broad absorption line (BAL) features, achieving an accuracy of 98.0±0.4% for recognizing BAL and 97.0±0.2% for rejecting non-BAL quasars. QuasarNET is trained on data of low signal-to-noise and medium resolution, typical of current and future astrophysical surveys, and could be easily applied to classify spectra from current and upcoming surveys such as eBOSS, DESI and 4MOST.


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