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GRAPE: Genetic Routine for Astronomical Period Estimation

McWhirter, PR, Hussain, A, Steele, IA, Al-Jumeily, D and Vellasco, M (2018) GRAPE: Genetic Routine for Astronomical Period Estimation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 479 (4). pp. 5196-5213. ISSN 1365-2966

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Abstract

Period estimation is an important task in the classification of many variable astrophysical objects. Here we present GRAPE: A Genetic Routine for Astronomical Period Estimation, a genetic algorithm optimised for the processing of survey data with spurious and aliased artefacts. It uses a Bayesian Generalised Lomb-Scargle (BGLS) fitness function designed for use with the Skycam survey conducted at the Liverpool Telescope. We construct a set of simulated light curves using both regular survey cadence and the unique Skycam variable cadence with four types of signal: sinusoidal, sawtooth, symmetric eclipsing binary and eccentric eclipsing binary. We apply GRAPE and a frequency spectrum BGLS periodogram to the light curves and show that the performance of GRAPE is superior to the frequency spectrum for any signal well modelled by the fitness function. This is due to treating the parameter space as a continuous variable.We also show that the Skycam sampling is sufficient to correctly estimate the period of over 90% of the sinusoidal shape light curves relative to the more standard regular cadence.We note that GRAPE has a computational overhead which makes it slower on light curves with low numbers of observations and faster with higher numbers of observations and discuss the potential optimisations used to speedup the runtime. Finally, we analyse the period dependence and baseline importance of the performance of both methods and propose improvements which will extend this method to the detection of quasi-periodic signals.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2018 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Computer Science
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2018 10:27
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2018 17:01
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/sty1823
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8937

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