Computing errors: data, models, errors and estimates

René Andrae's paper illustrates the subtleties of quoting errors

René Andrae has given the astronomy community a great paper, not to be published, but definitely to be read, about:

‘Error estimation in astronomy: A guide’

Error propagations, means, medians, maximum likelihood points, thresholds, marginalisations, etc. all are nuances that everyone should be clear about, but that most of us are sometimes a little confused about if we are to be honest.

This is a great concise reference paper that comes in very handy, and is highly recommended. Thank you René.

A sister paper, critical of usual practice is this paper by Hogg, Bovy & Lang.

If you want to delve further into the subject of statistical inference, this book: Information Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms by David McKay (available for free on the author’s website) is the next step.

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