A maximum likelihood method to improve faint-source flux and color estimates

David W. Hogg, Edwin L. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Flux estimates for faint sources or transients are systematically biased high because there are far more truly faint sources than bright. Corrections that account for this effect are presented as a function of signal-to-noise ratio and the (true) slope of the faint-source number-flux relation. The corrections depend on the source being originally identified in the image in which it is being photometered. If a source has been identified in other data, the corrections are different; a prescription for calculating the corrections is presented. Implications of these corrections for analyses of surveys are discussed; the most important is that sources identified at signal-to-noise ratios of 4 or less are practically useless.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-731
Number of pages5
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number748
StatePublished - Jun 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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