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Paper: Eclipse Power – Advances From Ancient Times to Artificial Intelligence
Volume: 370, Solar and Stellar Physics Through Eclipses
Page: 125
Authors: Guinan, E.F.; Engle, S.E.; Devinney, E.J.
Abstract: From ancient times to the present, eclipses and related occultations have been pivotal in the development of Astronomy and in the advancement of our understanding of the physical world. As discussed here, in modern astrophysics eclipsing binaries play major roles by returning a wealth of fundamental information and basic data about the physical properties of stars, as well as providing vital tests of stellar structure and evolution, accurate distances and so much more. Eclipsing binaries also serve as testbeds of various aspects of modern physics and astrophysics including General Relativity, nuclear and atomic physics and plasma physics. Eclipsing binaries in nearby galaxies are now even important in in cosmology by serving as first class “standard candles” that are leading to a significant improvement in the extragalactic distance scale. Also, eclipsing star-planet systems (ten discovered so far) are providing important properties of extrasolar planets (masses, radii and densities) that cannot be obtained by any other means. Moreover, from wide-field photometric surveys, the number of eclipsing binaries has greatly increased from a few thousand to over ten thousand known systems today. However, the pace of the discovery of new eclipsing systems is expected to explode during the next decade. Ground-based and orbiting wide-field programs that include Pan-STARRS, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), COROT, Kepler, Gaia and several others are expected to generate several million additional binary systems! To cope with analyzing and scientifically exploiting these overwhelming data, nonpersonal automatic and semi-autonomous approaches to light curve analysis are being developed. In particular, a new approach to this problem being developed by us and our colleagues is discussed that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Neural Networks (NN) to find the best light curve solutions. This is part of a new program known as “Eclipsing Binaries with Artificial Intelligence (EBAI).” Also briefly discussed is the new astrophysical information that can be gleamed from the analysis of large numbers of eclipsing binaries in a uniform manner.
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