Self-Supervised Representation Learning for Astronomical Images

24 Dec 2020  ·  Md Abul Hayat, George Stein, Peter Harrington, Zarija Lukić, Mustafa Mustafa ·

Sky surveys are the largest data generators in astronomy, making automated tools for extracting meaningful scientific information an absolute necessity. We show that, without the need for labels, self-supervised learning recovers representations of sky survey images that are semantically useful for a variety of scientific tasks. These representations can be directly used as features, or fine-tuned, to outperform supervised methods trained only on labeled data. We apply a contrastive learning framework on multi-band galaxy photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to learn image representations. We then use them for galaxy morphology classification, and fine-tune them for photometric redshift estimation, using labels from the Galaxy Zoo 2 dataset and SDSS spectroscopy. In both downstream tasks, using the same learned representations, we outperform the supervised state-of-the-art results, and we show that our approach can achieve the accuracy of supervised models while using 2-4 times fewer labels for training.

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