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Paper: Bayesian Parameter Estimation for X-ray Observations
Volume: 371, Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy IV
Page: 429
Authors: Ptak, A.
Abstract: We discuss the application of Bayesian parameter estimation to several areas of X-ray astrophysics. In addition to proper handling of low numbers of observed counts, these methods offer a number of advantages, such as marginalization of “nuisance” parameters and easy parameterization of the problem in quantities of physical interest. We discuss the problem of computing upper-limits when a source is observed by multiple detectors. Modern X-ray satellites often contain multiple detectors that are operated simultaneously, resulting in several data sets for a given target. The instrumental response and background characteristics of the detectors often differ which complicates the interpretation of the results. A second example is the analysis of calibration data, particularly in the case the Japanese/US satellite Suzaku since calibration data are available in situ for every observation. Here we discuss using Bayesian parameter estimation to directly fit for the instrumental gain and spectral resolution of the XIS detectors. In future work the posterior probability distribution derived from this fitting could then be used as prior probability distributions for spectral fitting of astrophysical data.
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