Modern astronomers encounter a vast range of challenging statistical problems, yet few are familiar with the wealth of techniques developed by statisticians. Conversely, few statisticians deal with the compelling problems confronted in astronomy.
Astrostatistics bridges this gap. Authored by a statistician-astronomer team, it provides professionals and advanced students in both fields with exposure to issues of mutual interest. In the first half of the book the authors introduce statisticians to stellar, galactic, and cosmological astronomy and discuss the complex character of astronomical data. For astronomers, they introduce the statistical principles of nonparametrics, multivariate analysis, time series analysis, density estimation, and resampling methods.
The second half of the book is organized by statistical topic. Each chapter contains examples of problems encountered astronomical research and highlights methodological issues. The final chapter explores some controversial issues in astronomy that have a strong statistical component. The authors provide an extensive bibliography and references to software for implementing statistical methods.
The "marriage" of astronomy and statistics is a natural one and benefits both disciplines. Astronomers need the tools and methods of statistics to interpret the vast amount of data they generate, and the issues related to astronomical data pose intriguing challenges for statisticians. Astrostatistics paves the way to improved statistical analysis of astronomical data and provides a common ground for future collaboration between the two fields.
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