Astrophysicists Presented A New Tool For Fast and Accurate Modelling Of Eclipsing Binaries (Astronomy)

Michal Cokina and colleagues presented a new, fast, and easy to use tool called ELISa, for modelling light and radial velocity curves of close eclipsing binaries and for complex applications like solving an inverse problem etc. They found that, it not only maintained its accuracy but also reduced computational time significantly compared to others. Their study recently appeared in the Journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

There are many modelling tools like PHOEBE v1 or ELC, which are available for the light curves (LC) modelling of eclipsing binaries (EBs). Although, they are fast but they have their own limitations in terms of precision and vice versa. Thus, there is a need of a tool which only provide computational speed but also provide precision during the fitting of light curves and radial velocities of eclipsing binaries, and for this purpose, Michal Cokina and colleagues presented ELISa (Eclipsing binary Learning and Interactive System).

It is a cross-platform software package dedicated to modelling EBs, including surface features such as spots and eventually pulsations. It is entirely written in the Python programming language in a modular fashion, making it easy to install, modify, and run on various operating systems.

Histograms show precision (left column) and relative speed (right column) of the approximations used during the calculation of the LCs of EBs with eccentric orbits © Michal Cokina et al.

ELISa implements Roche geometry and the triangulation process to model a surface of the eclipsing binary components, where the surface parameters of each surface element are treated separately. It also uses surface symmetries and approximations based on the similarity between surface geometries to reduce the runtime during light curve calculation significantly. In addition, it implements the least square trust region reflective algorithm and Markov-chain Monte Carlo optimisation methods to provide the built-in capability to determine parameters of the binary system from photometric observations and radial velocities.

Finally, they evaluated the precision and speed of the light curve generator using various benchmarks and concluded that, ELISa not only maintained an acceptable level of accuracy to analysed data from ground-based and space-based observations, but also it provided a significant reduction in computational time compared to the current widely used tools for modelling eclipsing binaries.

“ELISa can also be readily used as a test bed in EB research, especially for more complex applications requiring the evaluation of a large amount of EB models such as solving an inverse problem or generating large datasets for applications such as machine learning. “

— concluded authors of the study

Reference: Michal Cokina, Miroslav Fedurco, and Štefan Parimucha, “ELISa: A new tool for fast modelling of eclipsing binaries”, Astronomy and Astrophysics, pp. 1-15, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202039171


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