Figure 6.7. The Poisson distribution for small mean numbers, m = 3.0, 6.0 and 10.3. The ordinate gives the probability of the value x occurring, for the given mean value. Note the asymmetry of the histograms.

The probabilities of detecting x = 0, 1, 2, 3, 4,... 9 for six values of m are given in Table 1. Note that the distribution in x is not symmetric about x = m; see also Fig. 7. The distribution is not the classic "bell curve" described below, particularly at low values of m. The distribution (1) is normalized to unity such that,

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