How Astronomers Are Using A.I. To Discover Planets

You may hate or love it, but AI or artificial intelligence is here to stay. The past years have gained mainstream attention both from the media and the public. It is in the news for its development and applications in different fields. The latest is astronomers using this advanced application to discover planets.  

Given its powerful and complex system, AI can efficiently perform huge tasks that human minds can’t do. This application is widely used in development and research globally as it helps gather information effectively in less time.

So, how does Al help astronomers to discover new planets? Find your answer below. But before that, let’s give you a brief explanation about artificial intelligence.

Understanding A.I. Mechanisms

Despite being hailed revolutionary, there has been a hue and cry about artificial intelligence from different sections of people. As good as the A.I. technology may be, there are inevitable drawbacks. 

The tech community has divided opinions and the general masses alike. Even prominent figures like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Geoffrey Hinton (Godfather of A.I.) have raised concerns about it. They fear exploitation and an end to the human race.

So, what exactly is A.I.? Concept-wise, it’s computing hardware that can think for itself where decision-making is done based on the data fed. The system is complex, with depth knowledge providing information within a few minutes. 

Its credit goes to detailed algorithms that enable swift computing tasks more efficiently than humans. So, it’s no surprise that researchers resort to AI to get the work done. 

Most may have heard about A.I. only recently, but it has been in existence for decades. What we are seeing now is the improved version that is more effective and intelligent than humans. AI has infiltrated a variety of industries and professional spaces ranging from vet career schools and other trades to the more expected technology-based fields.

Even AI-powered tools are widely used in smartphones. For instance, smart assistant applications like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have been introduced to the general public. Now it’s not limited only to research studies but to other uses as well, showing its wide scope whether it’s medicine or astronomical studies. 

Using A.I. Application To Discover Planets

Whether AI is good or bad, only time can tell. However, this advanced tool greatly supports astronomers in discovering new planets. Beyond the solar system, there are new undiscovered planets.

Astronomers gather data from large instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope to scour new planets. It is a rigorous and time-consuming task to source patterns and signals from outer space. Also, most of these young planets are concealed under dust, which is quite thick and difficult to find.

But with an enhanced machine learning system, spotting newly formed planets among dust rings became easier. It’s one of the main benefits of artificial intelligence in Astronomy. The volumes of data sourced from satellites and observatories can be examined meticulously by this application which can be overwhelming for humans. 

The research team from the University of Georgia has stated that machine learning can determine a new planet by looking at the protoplanetary disks. The team has revealed that an unknown world that was previously undiscovered can be detected through AI. 

Unlike humans, intelligent machines are good at recognizing patterns and deciphering quickly, which we may miss or be unable to spot. The team trained machines on how to detect or identify patterns.

Once trained, they test the algorithm on actual astronomical data collected. They particularly look at manual data that has already been spotted or shows signs of a new planet. The A.I. proved to identify the same much better and faster. 

While one cannot entirely overlook the manual work, a bit of machine help can make the job easier for a huge task like this. It’s a massive work that requires the help of both humans and artificial intelligence. 

A.I. has been an excellent source of help in different fields of study. It may have drawbacks, but it will benefit humanity when used responsibly. In short, one can work hand in hand with machines but should know where to draw the line. 

What Is A Protoplanetary Disk?

The solar systems, including Earth, are mainly made of dust and gas and are pulled by gravity. As time passes, a large part of the materials falls to the center, becoming a star. A dust ring surrounds the young star called a Protoplanetary disk. 

It’s a circumstellar disc made of gas and dust that surrounds the newly formed star. Reportedly, new planets are hidden within these, which are hard to detect as the dust appears to be thick. It can only be identified through disturbances when passing the dust. 

Astronomers consider it massive to study and find these disks through radio light and infrared. However, the challenging task is looking for new planets within the disk. The dense material makes it difficult to view, often relying on the effects within the disk. 

So, they take the indirect approach of identifying young planets by how they affect the nearby surroundings. If there are some changes, it serves as a beacon to astronomers. Finding these disks may be a massive task, but detecting new worlds within them is more tedious.

However, the introduction of A.I. applications has made the work easier for astronomers. They can infer or gather data efficiently with the help of machine learning. There is an infinite number of dust rings, and the more we discover leads to detailed knowledge about planetary formation.