Artash Nath

The Inaugural Youth Science Canada (YSC) Online STEM Fair was held in May 2020. The STEM Fair is a showcase for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects that reflect the curiosity and creativity of Canadian youth and is open to all students in grades 7-12. Due to COVID-19, the Canada-wide Science fair moved online with the help of the joint venture between Make: Community and’s ProjectBoard.

graphicThe Fair received 635 STEM project entries from students from across Canada. Addressing eight challenges: agriculture, fisheries and food; curiosity and ingenuity; digital technology; disease and illness, energy, environment and climate change, health and wellness; and natural resources, each project features a one-minute video, images and brief text segments explaining their work.

A team of volunteers from regional science fairs across the country, Youth Science Canada National Judging Team members, and sponsor representatives carefully reviewed 631 projects and awarded 275 virtual ribbons at three levels as part of the online showcase.

Grey ribbons were awarded for top projects from each of the 103 regions in Canada, purple ribbons for those identified as outstanding by national organizers, and Red ribbons for outstanding projects in each of eight YSC challenges.

Youth Science Canada STEM Fair Award

My project: Using Machine Learning to Remove Noise from Stellar Spots in Exoplanetary Data from Space Telescopes won all the 3 Ribbons: Grey, Purple, and Red to emerge among the top projects nationally, regionally and among the challenges. Complete details of my project are available at

There were multiple grey ribbons awarded to each region where appropriate (grey just represents projects being awarded a ribbon by regional level judges, as opposed to purple being given out by national judges (the same ones that would have led the excellence medal judging at the Canada Wide Science Fair 2020 if it had gone ahead), and red which were awarded by the organization the represented each of the challenges.

The complete list of YSC Online STEM Fair ribbon recipients is available from

Project Description

Exoplanets are planets around other stars. When an exoplanet transits in front of its parent star, its main body blocks out some light of the star. This causes a dip in the light received from the star. If the exoplanet has an atmosphere around it, then the atmosphere will also absorb some of this light. How much light is absorbed by the atmosphere depends on its thickness and gases present?

Different gases absorb different wavelengths of light to different degrees. If we plot the transit of an exoplanet at different wavelengths, we will get light curves of different depths. Studying transit light curves of exoplanets at different wavelengths allows us to predict the chemical composition of their atmospheres.

However, the parent star of the exoplanet may have stellar spots that are cooler than the surrounding surface. This adds noise to the data. We must isolate depth in light curves caused by the exoplanetary atmosphere from those caused by the stellar spots. The current approach is to remove this noise manually which is time-consuming and prone to errors.

I created a hybrid machine learning model to remove the effects of star-spots in faint signals of transiting exoplanets’ atmospheres received by space telescopes. My model was able to accurately predict the exoplanet-star radius ratio in 55 wavelengths with a mean square error of 0.001.

The Algorithm would lead to faster elimination of noise in real-time data. It can be applied to data from other telescopes like NASA’s James Webb Telescope.

For complete details, go to

About Youth Science Canada

Established in 1962, Youth Science Canada fuels the curiosity of Canadian youth through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects. The registered charity works to ensure that Canadian youth have the capacity and skills to generate and answer questions and identify and solve problems. YSC also engages leading public and private sector organizations in the development of a national STEM network of Canadian youth. For more information, please visit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s