Reliable inference of light curve parameters in the presence of systematics

N.~P. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Time-series photometry and spectroscopy of transiting exoplanets allow us to study their atmospheres. Unfortunately, the required precision to extract atmospheric information surpasses the design specifications of most general purpose instrumentation. This results in instrumental systematics in the light curves that are typically larger than the target precision. Systematics must therefore be modelled, leaving the inference of light-curve parameters conditioned on the subjective choice of systematics models and model-selection criteria. Here, I briefly review the use of systematics models commonly used for transmission and emission spectroscopy, including model selection, marginalisation over models, and stochastic processes. These form a hierarchy of models with increasing degree of objectivity. I argue that marginalisation over many systematics models is a minimal requirement for robust inference. Stochastic models provide even more flexibility and objectivity, and therefore produce the most reliable results. However, no systematics models are perfect, and the best strategy is to compare multiple methods and repeat observations where possible.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)202-204
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2016


  • methods: data analysis, techniques: spectroscopic, planetary systems:,

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