Estimating meteor rates using Bayesian inference

Geert Barentsen, Rainer Arlt, Hans-Erich Fröhlich

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    A method for estimating the true meteor rate lambda from a small number of observed meteors n is derived. We employ Bayesian inference with a Poissonian likelihood function. We discuss the choice of a suitable prior and propose the adoption of Jeffreys prior, P(lambda)=lambda^-0.5, which yields an expectation value E(lambda) = n+0.5 for any n >= 0. We update the ZHR meteor activity formula accordingly, and explain how 68%- and 95%-confidence intervals can be computed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)126-130
    JournalWGN, Journal of the International Meteor Organization
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


    • astro-ph.IM
    • stat.AP
    • astro-ph.EP


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