AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

A Constellation of Statistical Analyses

Volume 50 number 1 (2022)

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Statistics is at the heart of variable star research. Whenever we determine a behavior of a variable star—such as its period, amplitude of variation, or time of maximum or minimum light—we use a mathematical model or a statistical analysis. Those operations return an estimate of a value (point estimate) and an estimate of its uncertainty (sometimes expressed as a confidence interval). Such a test could be as simple as the classical eyeball estimate or as complex as a wavelet analysis. Often, we accept the results of the statistical test at face value and move on to the next problem.