Most physical data sets contain a stochastic contribution produced by measurement noise or other random sources along with the signal. Usually, neither the signal nor the noise are accurately known prior to the measurement so that both have to be estimated a posteriori. We have studied a procedure to estimate the standard deviation of the stochastic contribution assuming normality and independence, requiring a sufficiently well-sampled data set to yield reliable results. This procedure is based on estimating the standard deviation in a sample of weighted sums of arbitrarily sampled data points and is identical to the so-called DER_SNR algorithm for specific parameter settings. To demonstrate the applicability of our procedure, we present applications to synthetic data, high-resolution spectra, and a large sample of space-based light curves and, finally, give guidelines to apply the procedure in situation not explicitly considered here to promote its adoption in data analysis.
S. Czesla, T. Molle and J. Schmitt
Thu, 7 Dec 17
Comments: Accepted for publication in A&A