A comparison of estimators for the two-point correlation function

Martin Kerscher, Istvan Szapudi, Alexander S. Szalay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

133 Citations (Scopus)


Nine of the most important estimators known for the two-point correlation function are compared using a predetermined, rigorous criterion. The indicators were extracted from over 500 subsamples of the Virgo Hubble volume simulation cluster catalog. The "real" correlation function was determined from the full survey in a 3000 h-1 Mpc periodic cube. The estimators were ranked by the cumulative probability of returning a value within a certain tolerance of the real correlation function. This criterion takes into account bias and variance, and it is independent of the possibly non-Gaussian nature of the error statistics. As a result, for astrophysical applications, a clear recommendation has emerged: The Landy & Szalay estimator, in its original or grid version (Szapudi & Szalay), is preferred in comparison with the other indicators examined, with a performance almost indistinguishable from the Hamilton estimator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L13-L16
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2000


  • Galaxies: Clusters: General
  • Methods: Statistical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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