SIMBAD references

2021MNRAS.504.4054K - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 504, 4054-4061 (2021/July-1)

Black swans in astronomical data.


Abstract (from CDS):

Astronomy has always been propelled by the discovery of new phenomena lacking precedent, often followed by new theories to explain their existence and properties. In the modern era of large surveys tiling the sky at ever high precision and sampling rates, these serendipitous discoveries look set to continue, with recent examples including Boyajian's Star, Fast Radio Bursts, and 'Oumuamua. Accordingly, we here look ahead and aim to provide a statistical framework for interpreting such events and providing guidance to future observations, under the basic premise that the phenomenon in question stochastically repeat at some unknown, constant rate, λ. Specifically, expressions are derived for (1) the a posteriori distribution for λ, (2) the a posteriori distribution for the recurrence time, and, (3) the benefit-to-cost ratio of further observations relative to that of the inaugural event. Some rule-of-thumb results for each of these are found to be (1) λ< {0.7, 2.3, 4.6} t1–1 to {50, 90, 95} per cent confidence (where t1 = time to obtain the first detection), (2) the recurrence time is t2< {1,9,99}t1 to {50, 90, 95} per cent confidence, with a lack of repetition by time t2 yielding a p-value of 1/[1 + (t2/t1)], and, (3) follow-up for ≲10 t_1 is expected to be scientifically worthwhile under an array of differing assumptions about the object's intrinsic scientific value. We apply these methods to the Breakthrough Listen Candidate 1 signal and tidal disruption events observed by TESS.

Abstract Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society

Journal keyword(s): methods: observational - methods: statistical - surveys

Simbad objects: 4

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