Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used for various purposes and applications, and now, it has been put to use for a new task: finding exoplanets. A study carried out by researchers at the University of Georgia reveals that AI can be used to find exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.
Machine Learning in the Search for Exoplanets
Finding exoplanets is a difficult task because they don’t emit their own light and can be obscured by space dust. Jason Terry, a doctoral student in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of physics and astronomy and lead author on the study, says that AI can help in analyzing environments where planets are still forming. Astronomers Discover Earth-Sized Exoplanet Just 72 Light Years Away.
“One of the novel things about this is analyzing environments where planets are still forming. Machine learning has rarely been applied to the type of data we’re using before, specifically for looking at systems that are still actively forming planets,” said Terry.
Sifting Through Giant Datasets
The main challenge for scientists is sifting through giant datasets, but AI makes this task much easier. Terry explains that AI is fast and accurate in getting planets that humans would miss.
“To a large extent the way we analyze this data is you have dozens, hundreds of images for a specific disc and you just look through and ask ‘is that a wiggle?’ then run a dozen simulations to see if that’s a wiggle and … it’s easy to overlook them – they’re really tiny, and it depends on the cleaning, and so this method is one, really fast, and two, its accuracy gets planets that humans would miss,” Terry explained.