Modelling stellar activity with Gaussian process regression networks

13 May 2022  ·  J. D. Camacho, J. P. Faria, P. T. P. Viana ·

Stellar photospheric activity is known to limit the detection and characterisation of extra-solar planets. In particular, the study of Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars requires data analysis methods that can accurately model the stellar activity phenomena affecting radial velocity (RV) measurements. Gaussian Process Regression Networks (GPRNs) offer a principled approach to the analysis of simultaneous time-series, combining the structural properties of Bayesian neural networks with the non-parametric flexibility of Gaussian Processes. Using HARPS-N solar spectroscopic observations encompassing three years, we demonstrate that this framework is capable of jointly modelling RV data and traditional stellar activity indicators. Although we consider only the simplest GPRN configuration, we are able to describe the behaviour of solar RV data at least as accurately as previously published methods. We confirm the correlation between the RV and stellar activity time series reaches a maximum at separations of a few days, and find evidence of non-stationary behaviour in the time series, associated with an approaching solar activity minimum.

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Solar and Stellar Astrophysics