Robust Detrending of Spatially Correlated Systematics in Kepler Light Curves Using Low-rank Methods

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Light curves produced by wide-field exoplanet transit surveys such as CoRoT, Kepler, and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite are affected by sensor-wide systematic noise, which is correlated both spatiotemporally and with other instrumental parameters such as the photometric magnitude. Robust and effective systematics mitigation is necessary to achieve the level of photometric accuracy required to detect exoplanet transits and to faithfully recover other forms of intrinsic astrophysical variability. We demonstrate the feasibility of a new exploratory algorithm to remove spatially correlated systematic noise and detrend light curves obtained from wide-field transit surveys. This spatial systematics algorithm is data-driven and fits a low-rank linear model for the systematics conditioned on a total-variation spatial constraint. The total-variation constraint models spatial systematic structure across the sensor on a foundational level. The fit is performed using gradient descent applied to, a variable reduced least-squares penalty and a modified form of total-variation prior; both the systematics basis vectors and their weighting coefficients are iteratively varied. The algorithm was numerically evaluated against a reference principal component analysis, using both signal injection on a selected Kepler dataset, as well as full simulations within the same Kepler coordinate framework. We develop our algorithm to reduce the overfitting of astrophysical variability over longer signal timescales (days) while performing comparably relative to the reference method for exoplanet transit timescales. The algorithm performance and application are assessed, and future development is outlined.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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