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Universe 2017, 3(2), 34; doi:10.3390/universe3020034

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

1
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
2
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mariusz P. Dąbrowski, Manuel Krämer and Vincenzo Salzano
Received: 1 February 2017 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Varying Constants and Fundamental Cosmology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1273 KB, uploaded 5 April 2017]   |  

Abstract

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, doi:10.1093/mnras/stx179). 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 synthetic 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: varying constants; varying alpha; absorption spectra analysis varying constants; varying alpha; absorption spectra analysis
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Bainbridge, M.B.; Webb, J.K. Evaluating the New Automatic Method for the Analysis of Absorption Spectra Using Synthetic Spectra. Universe 2017, 3, 34.

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