A Caltech Library Service

Surface Mapping of Earth-like Exoplanets using Single Point Light Curves

Fan, Siteng and Yung, Yuk L. (2020) Surface Mapping of Earth-like Exoplanets using Single Point Light Curves. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2020 (159). Art. No. e60951. ISSN 1940-087X. doi:10.3791/60951.

[img] PDF (Materials List) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Spatially resolving exoplanet features from single-point observations is essential for evaluating the potential habitability of exoplanets. The ultimate goal of this protocol is to determine whether these planetary worlds harbor geological features and/or climate systems. We present a method of extracting information from multi-wavelength single-point light curves and retrieving surface maps. It uses singular value decomposition (SVD) to separate sources that contribute to light curve variations and infer the existence of partially cloudy climate systems. Through analysis of the time series obtained from SVD, physical attributions of principal components (PCs) could be inferred without assumptions of any spectral properties. Combining with viewing geometry, it is feasible to reconstruct surface maps if one of the PCs are found to contain surface information. Degeneracy originated from convolution of the pixel geometry and spectrum information determines the quality of reconstructed surface maps, which requires the introduction of regularization. For the purpose of demonstrating the protocol, multi-wavelength light curves of Earth, which serves as a proxy exoplanet, are analyzed. Comparison between the results and the ground truth is presented to show the performance and limitation of the protocol. This work provides a benchmark for future generalization of exoplanet applications.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Fan, Siteng0000-0002-3041-4680
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2020 Journal of Visualized Experiments. Published: 5/10/2020. This work was partly supported by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. YLY acknowledge support by the Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington. The authors have nothing to disclose.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of WashingtonUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:159
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200601-084051044
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Fan, S., Yung, Y. L. Surface Mapping of Earth-like Exoplanets using Single Point Light Curves. J. Vis. Exp. (159), e60951, doi:10.3791/60951 (2020)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103578
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Jun 2020 15:45
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page