AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 17 Extra Solar Planets
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[17.04] Bayesian Hypothesis Testing for Planet Finding

I. Braems, N.J. Kasdin (Princeton University)

One of the most important performance metrics of any space planet finding system is integration time. The time needed to make a positive detection of an extrasolar planet determines the number of systems we can observe for the life of the mission and the stability requirements of the spacecraft and optical control systems. Most astronomical detection approaches rely on fairly simple signal-to-noise calculations and a threshold determined by the ability of the human eye to extract the planet image from the background (usually a signal-to-noise ratio of five). In this paper we present an alternative approach to detection using Bayesian hypothesis testing. This optimal approach provides a quantitative measure of the probability of detection under various conditions and integration times (such as known or unknown background levels) and under different prior assumptions. We also show how the technique allows for a much higher probability of detection for shorter integration times than the previous photometric approaches. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for this work and Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA) for its support of Ms. Braems.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.