Autoregressive Planet Search: Methodology

Gabriel A. Caceres, Eric D. Feigelson, G. Jogesh Babu, Natalia Bahamonde, Alejandra Christen, Karine Bertin, Cristian Meza, Michel Curé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The detection of periodic signals from transiting exoplanets is often impeded by extraneous aperiodic photometric variability, either intrinsic to the star or arising from the measurement process. Frequently, these variations are autocorrelated wherein later flux values are correlated with previous ones. In this work, we present the methodology of the autoregessive planet search (ARPS) project, which uses the autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and related statistical models that treat a wide variety of stochastic processes, as well as nonstationarity, to improve detection of new planetary transits. Provided a time series is evenly spaced or can be placed on an evenly spaced grid with missing values, these low-dimensional parametric models can prove very effective. We introduce a planet search algorithm to detect periodic transits in the residuals after the application of ARIMA models. Our matched-filter algorithm, the transit comb filter (TCF), is closely related to the traditional box-fitting least-squares and provides an analogous periodogram. Finally, if a previously identified or simulated sample of planets is available, selected scalar features from different stages of the analysis - the original light curves, ARIMA fits, TCF periodograms, and folded light curves - can be collectively used with a multivariate classifier to identify promising candidates while efficiently rejecting false alarms. We use Random Forests for this task, in conjunction with receiver operating characteristic curves, to define discovery criteria for new, high-fidelity planetary candidates. The ARPS methodology can be applied to both evenly spaced satellite light curves and densely cadenced ground-based photometric surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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