Evaluating the New Automatic Method for the Analysis of Absorption Spectra Using Synthetic Spectra

Matthew Bainbridge, John Webb
2017 Universe  
We recently presented a new "artificial intelligence" method for the analysis of high-resolution absorption spectra (Bainbridge and Webb, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 2017, 468,1639-1670). This new method unifies three established numerical methods: a genetic algorithm (GVPFIT); non-linear least-squares optimisation with parameter constraints (VPFIT); and Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA). In this work, we investigate the performance of GVPFIT and BMA over a broad range of velocity structures using
more » ... nthetic spectra. We found that this new method recovers the velocity structures of the absorption systems and accurately estimates variation in the fine structure constant. Studies such as this one are required to evaluate this new method before it can be applied to the analysis of large sets of absorption spectra. This is the first time that a sample of synthetic spectra has been utilised to investigate the analysis of absorption spectra. Probing the variation of nature's fundamental constants (such as the fine structure constant), through the analysis of absorption spectra, is one of the most direct ways of testing the universality of physical laws. This "artificial intelligence" method provides a way to avoid the main limiting factor, i.e., human interaction, in the analysis of absorption spectra.
doi:10.3390/universe3020034 fatcat:unjkedcv35bhtckzrl2v2tyqre