Astroinformatics (AIN)

In 2013, the Astroinformatics group was established at HITS. Our goal is to develop new methods and tools to deal with the exponentially increasing amount of data in astronomy.

In the last two decades, computers have revolutionized astronomy. Advances in technology have led to the advent of new detectors, complex instruments, and innovative telescope designs. These advances enable today’s astronomers to observe objects with unprecedented accuracy and in high spatial/spectral/temporal resolution. In addition, there are new untapped wavelength regimes waiting to be explored. Dedicated survey telescopes map the sky and constantly collect data that are then made available to the community free of charge. Our aim is to help scientists analyze this increasing amount of information.

The group is interested in the development of improved photometric redshift regression models. This is a key tool in the analysis of the huge amounts of data provided by upcoming major survey projects like the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), Gaia, or Euclid. Also of crucial scientific interest are methods and tools for extracting and filtering rare objects for detailed follow-up analysis with 8-m class telescopes. Estimated occurrences of only a few objects per million make manual inspection of the existing catalogs impossible. Morphological classification of galaxies based on imaging data as well as high-dimensional similarity measures are the other research interests of the Astroinformatics group. These are initial stages in providing more exploratory access to the data archives for astronomers.