Eugenio has put the fourth (and final) systemic challenge system on the downloadable systemic console. This dataset is somewhat easier to decipher than the first and second challenges, which were rather esoteric in their planetary configurations. We hope that you’ll find that this one’s a little more down to Earth. I’d like to have your entries in by Oct 31, 23:59 UT. As with our previous three contests, Sky and Telescope is awarding a Star Atlas to the person who achieves the best model of the system.
For this system, it’s likely possible to drive the chi-square arbitrarily close to unity by successively adding spurious, very low-mass planets that act to soak up random noise in the data. We’re currently working on incorporating some standard statistical test utilities into the console which will make it easier to determine whether adding an extra planet is truly necessary. (This will be the topic of an upcoming post, and see the comment thread on Sunday’s post.) For this contest, however, if there are multiple submissions with reduced chi-square near unity, then the prize will be awarded to the fit that also gets the total number of planets in the underlying model correct.
If you haven’t downloaded the console recently, we’re encouraging you to grab a fresh copy. A number of improvements have been added, and there are also a number of additional radial velocity data sets that have been added in recent weeks. Eugenio has been posting a running commentary on the backend describing the console improvements. We’re also putting the final touches on the Systemic Jr. datasets, which we’re hoping to release at the end of next week.
As a result of some articles in the press and on the Internet, we’ve been continuing to see a large increase in the oklo user base. If you’re visiting the site for the first time, you’ll find information about the project and about our goals on the links to the right. Welcome aboard!