Practical Statistics for Astronomers

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Practical Statistics For Astronomer

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Practical Statistics for Astronomers

Astronomy, like any experimental subject, needs statistical methods to interpret data reliably. This practical handbook presents the most relevant statistical and probabilistic machinery for use in observational astronomy. Classical parametric and non-parametric methods are covered, but there is a strong emphasis on Bayesian solutions and the importance of probability in experimental inference. Chapters cover basic probability, correlation analysis, hypothesis testing, Bayesian modelling, time series analysis, luminosity functions and clustering. The book avoids the technical language of statistics in favour of demonstrating astronomical relevance and applicability. It contains many worked examples and problems that make use of databases which are available on the Web. It is suitable for self-study at advanced undergraduate or graduate level, as a reference for professional astronomers, and as a textbook basis for courses in statistical methods in astronomy.

JASPER WALL was, to 2003, Visiting Professor of Astrophysics and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. He obtained his Ph.D. in Astronomy at the Australian National University, Canberra, and has since been Head of Astrophysics at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Director of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma, and Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Professor Wall has edited three books and published over 150 scientific articles on extragalactic radio sources, space distribution and cosmology, astronomy instrumentation, and statistics in astronomy.

CHARLES JENKINS has worked at Schlumberger's Cambridge research lab since 1997, where he is a Principal Scientist working on innovations in oilfield telemetry and robotics. He obtained his Ph.D. in the Radio Astronomy group at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, and was an Astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory for 14 years. Dr Jenkins has been involved in the commissioning of the Isaac Newton and William Herschel Telescopes as Project Scientist for numerous instruments, and latterly headed the New Projects Group and was Project Scientist for the tracking systems of the Gemini 8-m telescopes. His main research interests in astronomy were galaxy dynamics and adaptive optics.

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