RobPer: An R package to calculate periodograms for light curves based on robust regression

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Abstract

An important task in astroparticle physics is the detection of periodicities in irregularly sampled time series, called light curves. The classic Fourier periodogram cannot deal with irregular sampling and with the measurement accuracies that are typically given for each observation of a light curve. Hence, methods to fit periodic functions using weighted regression were developed in the past to calculate periodograms. We present the R package RobPer which allows to combine different periodic functions and regression techniques to calculate periodograms. Possible regression techniques are least squares, least absolute deviations, least trimmed squares, M-, S-and τ-regression. Measurement accuracies can be taken into account including weights. Our periodogram function covers most of the approaches that have been tried earlier and provides new model-regression-combinations that have not been used before. To detect valid periods, RobPer applies an outlier search on the periodogram instead of using fixed critical values that are theoretically only justified in case of least squares regression, independent periodogram bars and a null hypothesis allowing only normal white noise. Finally, the package also includes a generator to generate artificial light curves.

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Thieler, A. M., Fried, R., & Rathjens, J. (2016). RobPer: An R package to calculate periodograms for light curves based on robust regression. Journal of Statistical Software, 69. https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v069.i09

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