skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Automated transient identification in the Dark Energy Survey

Abstract

We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factor of 13.4, while only 1.0 percent of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Here we characterize the algorithm's performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). et al.
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
OSTI Identifier:
1212752
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-PUB-15-141-AE
Journal ID: ISSN 1538-3881; arXiv eprint number arXiv:1504.02936
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 150; Journal Issue: 3
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
transients; discovery; algorithms; statistical; random forest; machine learning

Citation Formats

Goldstein, D. A.. Automated transient identification in the Dark Energy Survey. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/82.
Goldstein, D. A.. Automated transient identification in the Dark Energy Survey. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/82.
Goldstein, D. A.. 2015. "Automated transient identification in the Dark Energy Survey". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/82. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1212752.
@article{osti_1212752,
title = {Automated transient identification in the Dark Energy Survey},
author = {Goldstein, D. A.},
abstractNote = {We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factor of 13.4, while only 1.0 percent of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Here we characterize the algorithm's performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/82},
journal = {Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online)},
number = 3,
volume = 150,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 8
}
  • We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factormore » of 13.4, while only 1.0% of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Furthermore, we characterize the algorithm's performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility.« less
  • We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factormore » of 13.4, while only 1.0% of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Furthermore, we characterize the algorithm's performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility.« less
  • We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factormore » of 13.4, while only 1.0% of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Here we characterize the algorithm's performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility. An implementation of the algorithm and the training data used in this paper are available at http://portal.nserc.gov/project/dessn/autoscan.« less
  • We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factormore » of 13.4, while only 1.0% of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Here we characterize the algorithm’s performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility. An implementation of the algorithm and the training data used in this paper are available at at http://portal.nersc.gov/project/dessn/autoscan.« less
  • Here, the Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automatedmore » notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.« less