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de Jong, J, de Bruijne, J and De Ridder, J (2020)

Benford’s law in the Gaia universe

Preprint arXiv:2008.12271 [astro-ph.GA]; last accessed August 8, 2022. Published Astron. & Astrophys. 642, A205.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: Not available at this time.

Abstract: Benfords law states that for scale- and base-invariant data sets covering a wide dynamic range, the distribution of the first significant digit is biased towards low values. This has been shown to be true for wildly different datasets, including financial, geographical, and atomic data. In astronomy, earlier work showed that Benfords law also holds for distances estimated as the inverse of parallaxes from the ESA Hipparcos mission. We investigate whether Benfords law still holds for the 1.3 billion parallaxes contained in the second data release of Gaia (Gaia DR2). In contrast to previous work, we also include negative parallaxes. We examine whether distance estimates computed using a Bayesian approach instead of parallax inversion still follow Benfords law. Lastly, we investigate the use of Benfords law as a validation tool for the zero-point of the Gaia parallaxes.

@misc{, title={Benford's law in the Gaia universe}, author={Jurjen de Jong and Jos de Bruijne and Joris De Ridder}, year={2020}, eprint={2008.12271}, archivePrefix={arXiv}, primaryClass={astro-ph.GA}, url = {}, }

Reference Type: Preprint

Subject Area(s): Physics, Statistics