There exist a variety of star-galaxy classification techniques, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. In this paper, we present a novelmeta-classification framework that combines and fully exploits different techniques to produce a more robust star-galaxy classification. To demonstrate this hybrid, ensemble approach, we combine a purely morphological classifier, a supervised machine learning method based on random forest, an unsupervised machine learning method based on self-organizing maps, and a hierarchical Bayesian template-fitting method. Using data from the CFHTLenS survey (Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey), we consider different scenarios: when a high-quality training set is available with spectroscopic labels from DEEP2 (Deep Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe Phase 2), SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey), VIPERS (VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey), and VVDS (VIMOS VLT Deep Survey), and when the demographics of sources in a low-quality training set do not match the demographics of objects in the test data set. We demonstrate that our Bayesian combination technique improves the overall performance over any individual classification method in these scenarios. Thus, strategies that combine the predictions of different classifiersmay prove to be optimal in currently ongoing and forthcoming photometric surveys, such as the Dark Energy Survey and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-521
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 24 2015


  • Galaxies: statistics
  • Methods: data analysis-methods: statistical
  • Stars: statistics
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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