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Activity Number: 411
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Section on Bayesian Statistical Science
Abstract - #308841
Title: Fully Bayesian Analysis of Low-Count Astronomical Images
Author(s): David van Dyk*+ and Alanna Connors
Companies: University of California, Irvine and Eurika Scientific
Address: 2206 Bren Hall, Irvine, CA, 92697-1250,
Keywords: Astrostatistics ; Multi-Scale Methods ; Image Analysis ; MCMC in Practice ; Bayesian Methods ; Poisson Models
Abstract:

New space-based telescopes that are designed to map X-ray and gamma-ray emission are giving a completely new perspective on the hot and turbulent regions of the universe. Analysis of the resulting images is a sophisticated task that requires subtle statistical techniques. Data is collected as photon counts on a grid of detector pixels. The counts are subject to non-uniform stochastic censoring, heteroscedastic errors in measurement, and background contamination. This combined with relatively small datasets makes answering complex astronomical questions a challenge. In this talk I describe how we (1) use Markov-random-field or multi-scale priors to stabilize the fitted images; (2) use posterior simulation to quantify uncertainty; (3) use higher resolution radio data to inform our priors; and (4) use Bayesian methods to test for deviations from particular structures in the image.


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