Astrophysics (Index)About

Eddington bias

(selection bias from mistaking something common for something rare)

The Eddington bias is a selection bias applicable to astronomical surveys that stems from measurement errors and population characteristics. If common items are at times mistaken for rare items, the count of the rare items can be significantly overestimated, whereas an equivalent error in the other direction does not change the count of common items very much. For example, brighter stars are rarer, so if estimates of brightness mistake some percentage of dimmer stars as being brighter, that causes a larger overestimate than if the same percentage of brighter stars are mistaken as being dimmer. Even if the measurement errors are random (a normal distribution), a sample-set's randomness can still be skewed.

This is in contrast to another type of observation bias, the Malmquist bias (See Malmquist bias for the difference).

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
Malmquist bias
star count
stellar demographics
volume weighting