No human required! In a first, AI detects supernova

An international team of scientists has developed an AI system known as Bright Transient Survey Bot (BTSbot) to detect supernovas and what it has achieved is simply historic!

| Updated on: Oct 17 2023, 19:34 IST
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AI detects supernova
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AI detects supernova
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An international team of scientists has developed an AI system known as Bright Transient Survey Bot (BTSbot) to detect supernovas and what it has achieved is simply historic! (Pixabay)
  • The evolution of AI is proving to be a great help to humankind in a lot of ways even though it suffers from some horrific hallucinations that forced OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to say he trusted the answers that come from his AI ChatGPT chatbot the least. However, in a more positive case, artificial intelligence has helped in a groundbreaking achievement in the field of astronomy. AI has detected and confirmed a supernova for the first time that too without human intervention.
  • An international team of scientists developed an AI system known as Bright Transient Survey Bot (BTSbot), which uses machine learning to perform the entire process of discovering, confirming, and classifying supernovas.
  • According to the reports by Northwestern University, this innovative AI system not only minimizes the risk of human error but also significantly accelerates the process of supernova discovery.
  • BTSbot was trained on a vast dataset of over 1.4 million images from nearly 16,000 sources, providing the system with the knowledge required to identify cosmic explosions.
  • According to a report by Science, northwestern astronomer Adam Miller, one of the lead researchers behind BTSbot, emphasizes that removing human involvement allows research teams more time to analyze their observations and formulate hypotheses regarding cosmic explosions.
  • Nabeel Rehemtulla, an astronomer at Northwestern who co-led BTSbot's development, highlights, "This ... helps us better understand the life cycles of stars and the origin of elements supernovae create, like carbon, iron, and gold."
  • BTSbot detected the new supernova, named SN2023tyk, in data from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a robotic camera in California that scans the northern sky every two days.
  • Notably, BTSbot managed to identify the supernova within just two days of the cosmic blast being imaged by ZTF. The robotic camera imaged the cosmic blast on October 3, and the supernova was found by BTSbot in ZTF's data on October 5.
  • Astronomers have previously dedicated thousands of hours to manually inspecting candidates for spectroscopic observations and this has emerged as a huge time saver.
  • The implementation of AI systems opens up possibilities for astronomers to concentrate on interpreting data and gaining a deeper understanding of the intricate processes governing the universe. Considering the huge shortage of staff in space exploration, this new technology will enable the mapping of whole new worlds in a very short span of time saving resources and effort.

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First Published Date: 17 Oct, 19:32 IST