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Yale researchers have found a data-driven way to detect distant planets and refine the search for worlds similar to Earth.

The new approach, outlined in a study published Dec. 20 in The Astronomical Journal, relies on that have their foundations in . Rather than trying to filter out the signal "noise" from stars around which exoplanets are orbiting, Yale scientists studied all of the signal information together to understand the intricacies within its structure.

"It requires nothing but the data itself, which is a game changer," said senior author John Wettlaufer, the A.M. Bateman Professor of Geophysics, Mathematics and Physics at Yale. "Moreover, it allows us to compare our findings with other, traditional approaches and improve whatever modeling assumptions they use."

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