Volume 642, October 2020
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Catalogs and data|
|Published online||12 October 2020|
Spectroscopic observations of the machine-learning selected anomaly catalogue from the AllWISE Sky Survey⋆
European Southern Observatory, Ave. Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
2 Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw, Al. Ujazdowskie 4, 00-478 Warszawa, Poland
3 Instituto de Ciencias Astronómicas, de la Tierra, y del Espacio (ICATE), CONICET, San Juan, Argentina
4 Universidad Nacional de San Juan (UNSJ), Mitre Oeste 396, J5402 San Juan, Argentina
5 Institute of Astronomy, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland
6 Gemini Observatory, Southern Operations Center, La Serena, Chile
7 Center for Theoretical Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Al. Lotników 32/46, 02-668 Warsaw, Poland
Accepted: 14 August 2020
We present the results of a programme to search and identify the nature of unusual sources within the All-sky Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) that is based on a machine-learning algorithm for anomaly detection, namely one-class support vector machines (OCSVM). Designed to detect sources deviating from a training set composed of known classes, this algorithm was used to create a model for the expected data based on WISE objects with spectroscopic identifications in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Subsequently, it marked as anomalous those sources whose WISE photometry was shown to be inconsistent with this model. We report the results from optical and near-infrared spectroscopy follow-up observations of a subset of 36 bright (gAB < 19.5) objects marked as “anomalous” by the OCSVM code to verify its performance. Among the observed objects, we identified three main types of sources: (i) low redshift (z ∼ 0.03 − 0.15) galaxies containing large amounts of hot dust (53%), including three Wolf-Rayet galaxies; (ii) broad-line quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) (33%) including low-ionisation broad absorption line (LoBAL) quasars and a rare QSO with strong and narrow ultraviolet iron emission; (iii) Galactic objects in dusty phases of their evolution (3%). The nature of four of these objects (11%) remains undetermined due to low signal-to-noise or featureless spectra. The current data show that the algorithm works well at detecting rare but not necessarily unknown objects among the brightest candidates. They mostly represent peculiar sub-types of otherwise well-known sources. To search for even more unusual sources, a more complete and balanced training set should be created after including these rare sub-species of otherwise abundant source classes, such as LoBALs. Such an iterative approach will ideally bring us closer to improving the strategy design for the detection of rarer sources contained within the vast data store of the AllWISE survey.
Key words: infrared: galaxies / infrared: stars / galaxies: active
© ESO 2020
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