Artificial Intelligence: Researchers Devise A System Of AI And Robots To Detect A Supernova

The new system automates the entire search for new supernovae across the night sky.

In a groundbreaking development, a fully automated process, driven by a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool, has successfully detected, identified, and classified a supernova. This remarkable achievement comes courtesy of an international collaboration led by Northwestern University. The new system, named the Bright Transient Survey Bot (BTSbot), has effectively removed humans from the process, radically accelerating the search and classification of supernova candidates while eliminating the potential for human error.

For years, humans have invested significant time visually inspecting and classifying supernova candidates. The implementation of BTSbot marks a transformative moment, redirecting this time toward other vital research activities and expediting the pace of discovery. (NORTHWESTERN NOW)

The BTSbot represents a fusion of robots and AI algorithms, working in harmony to identify supernovae. It has the capacity to observe, identify, and confirm the discovery of these cosmic explosions autonomously. As the models continue to refine, the AI may eventually pinpoint specific subtypes of supernovae, shedding light on the origins of these celestial events.

This fully automated process also has profound implications for the study of supernovae. It streamlines large-scale investigations, deepening our understanding of stellar life cycles and the creation of essential elements like carbon, iron, and gold in supernovae.

To achieve this level of automation, the researchers developed the BTSbot, an AI tool trained with over 1.4 million historical images from various sources, including confirmed supernovae and flaring stars. This AI drastically reduces the need for human intervention in the process of identifying supernovae, marking a significant advancement in astronomical research.

The success story of BTSbot was confirmed through the real-time detection of a supernova candidate, SN2023tyk. This candidate was detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a robotic observatory, and subsequently confirmed by BTSbot. This milestone represents the world’s first fully automatic detection, identification, and classification of a supernova. In this case, the automated system publicly shared its discovery with the astronomical community, solidifying the potential for AI to revolutionize the field of astronomy.

This development, led by Northwestern University in collaboration with various institutions, signifies a pivotal moment in the study of supernovae. It opens the door to a new era of automation and AI-driven discovery in the realm of astronomy, holding the promise of uncovering deeper insights into the cosmos.

Related Story:  AI In SETI May Help Us Find Life Beyond Earth

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