STATISTICS of MEASURING NEUTRON STAR RADII: ASSESSING A FREQUENTIST and A BAYESIAN APPROACH

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17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Measuring neutron star radii with spectroscopic and timing techniques relies on the combination of multiple observables to break the degeneracies between the mass and radius introduced by general relativistic effects. Here, we explore a previously used frequentist and a newly proposed Bayesian framework to obtain the most likely value and the uncertainty in such a measurement. We find that for the expected range of masses and radii and for realistic measurement errors, the frequentist approach suffers from biases that are larger than the accuracy in the radius measurement required to distinguish between the different equations of state. In contrast, in the Bayesian framework, the inferred uncertainties are larger, but the most likely values do not suffer from such biases. We also investigate ways of quantifying the degree of consistency between different spectroscopic measurements from a single source. We show that a careful assessment of the systematic uncertainties in the measurements eliminates the need for introducing ad hoc biases, which lead to artificially large inferred radii.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume810
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2015

Keywords

  • methods: statistical
  • stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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