Supernova Photometric Classification Pipelines Trained on Spectroscopically Classified Supernovae from the Pan-STARRS1 Medium-deep Survey

V. A. Villar, E. Berger, G. Miller, R. Chornock, A. Rest, D. O. Jones, M. R. Drout, R. J. Foley, R. Kirshner, R. Lunnan, E. Magnier, D. Milisavljevic, N. Sanders, D. Scolnic

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11 Scopus citations


Photometric classification of supernovae (SNe) is imperative as recent and upcoming optical time-domain surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), overwhelm the available resources for spectrosopic follow-up. Here we develop a range of light curve (LC) classification pipelines, trained on 513 spectroscopically classified SNe from the Pan-STARRS1 Medium-Deep Survey (PS1-MDS): 357 Type Ia, 93 Type II, 25 Type IIn, 21 Type Ibc, and 17 Type I superluminous SNe (SLSNe). We present a new parametric analytical model that can accommodate a broad range of SN LC morphologies, including those with a plateau, and fit this model to data in four PS1 filters (g P1 r P1 i P1 z P1). We test a number of feature extraction methods, data augmentation strategies, and machine-learning algorithms to predict the class of each SN. Our best pipelines result in ≈90% average accuracy, ≈70% average purity, and ≈80% average completeness for all SN classes, with the highest success rates for SNe Ia and SLSNe and the lowest for SNe Ibc. Despite the greater complexity of our classification scheme, the purity of our SN Ia classification, ≈95%, is on par with methods developed specifically for Type Ia versus non-Type Ia binary classification. As the first of its kind, this study serves as a guide to developing and training classification algorithms for a wide range of SN types with a purely empirical training set, particularly one that is similar in its characteristics to the expected LSST main survey strategy. Future work will implement this classification pipeline on ≈3000 PS1/MDS LCs that lack spectroscopic classification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number83
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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