Using Genetic Algorithms to Find the Period of a Single Exoplanet Orbit

Project: Using Genetic Algorithms to Find the Period of a Single Exoplanet Orbit

Department of Natural Sciences: Physics

Project adviser: Dr. Scott Schneider

Researched by: Ceré L. Rettig


Project Summary as of:05/13/2014

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LTU Graduation Picture

What is a galaxy rotation curve?

Galaxy rotation curves are a graphical analysis obtained from the magnitude of the orbital velocities of visible stars in a particular galaxy and their radial distance from the galaxies center, typically depicted with a scatter plot.

What is the Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram?

The Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram is a way to classify galaxies. Mr. Edwin Hubble believed that the elliptical galaxies (E0, E3, E5, E7) are early galaxies and that the lenticular (S0), and spiral galaxies (Sa, Sb, Sc, SBa, SBb, SBc) or late galaxies evolved from the elliptical galaxies. In this model the lenticular galaxies are viewed as a transition type between the elliptical and spiral galaxies. While this evolution model has been found to be incorrect, this is a good diagram used for galaxy classification.

What is dark matter?

Dark matter accounts for effects that appear to be the result of mass where such mass cannot be seen. It attracts or exerts a gravitational inward pull on the visible matter surrounding it.

Are we sure it is not dark energy?

Yes, because dark energy repels or pushes outward.

What is already known about spiral galaxy rotation curves?

Rotation curves are an essential tool for determining mass distribution in spiral galaxies, and provide fundamental information.

Project Objectives:

  • Research galaxy rotation curves for the six different types of spiral galaxies.
  • Investigate mathematical models for ordinary matter and dark matter to generate rotation curves.
  • Research genetic algorithms.
  • Study Dane Falberg’s programing with genetic algorithms. (Not exactly…)
  • Create the software, to fit galaxy rotation.
  • If time is available see if this process can be done with lenticular galaxies.


J.Q. Feng and C.F. Gallo, Res. Astron. Astrophys. 11 1429-1449, 1 (2011).

Charbonneau, Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 101 309-334, 1 (1995)

Sofue and V. Rubin, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 39 181-0015, 1(2000).

Jacobson, theProjectSpot, (2012).

Rebelo, GitHubGist, (2013).

Treason, Milky Way, (2015).

Doyle, SETI Institute, (2015).

EOS, Radial Velocity Method, (2007).

Buil, Spectroscopy, CCD and Astronomy, (2015).

R.L. Akeson et al, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, (2015).

Did I complete my project objectives?

While I did not complete all of my project objectives that is OK. It was a great learning experience and I can continue to work on this project on my own.

Senior Thesis


Senior Projects 2 Spring 2015 Syllabus

Presentation Rubric

Science Data Rubric

Senior Thesis Rubric

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