Detecting Bimodality in Astrometrical Datasets
Abstract
We discuss statistical techniques for detecting and quantifying bimodality in astronomical datasets. We concentrate on the KMM algorithm, which estimates the statistical significance of bimodality in such datasets and objectively partitions data into subpopulations. By simulating bimodal distributions with a range of properties we investigate the sensitivity of KMM to datasets with varying characteristics. Our results facilitate the planning of optimal observing strategies for systems where bimodality is suspected. Mixturemodeling algorithms similar to the KMM algorithm have been used in previous studies to partition the stellar population of the Milky Way into subsystems. We illustrate the broad applicability of KMM by analysing published data on globular cluster metallicity distributions, velocity distributions of galaxies in clusters, and burst durations of gammaray sources. PostScript versions of the tables and figures, as well as FORTRAN code for KMM and instructions for its use, are available by anonymous ftp from kula.phsx.ukans.edu.
 Publication:

The Astronomical Journal
 Pub Date:
 December 1994
 DOI:
 10.1086/117248
 arXiv:
 arXiv:astroph/9408030
 Bibcode:
 1994AJ....108.2348A
 Keywords:

 Algorithms;
 Computerized Simulation;
 Data Processing;
 Likelihood Ratio;
 Statistical Analysis;
 Statistical Distributions;
 Fortran;
 Galactic Clusters;
 Gamma Ray Bursts;
 Globular Clusters;
 Metallicity;
 Milky Way Galaxy;
 Velocity Distribution;
 Astrophysics;
 ASTRONOMICAL DATA BASES: MISCELLANEOUS;
 Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 32 pages