Investigation of the errors in Sloan digital sky survey proper-motion measurements using samples of quasars

Ruobing Dong, James Gunn, Gillian Knapp, Constance Rockosi, Michael Blanton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We investigate in detail the probability distribution function (pdf) of the proper-motion measurement errors in the SDSS+USNO-B proper-motion catalog of Munn et al. using clean quasar samples. The pdf of the errors is well represented by a Gaussian core with extended wings, plus a very small fraction (<0.1%) of "outliers." We find that while formally the pdf could be well fit by a five-parameter fitting function, for many purposes it is also adequate to represent the pdf with a one-parameter approximation to this function. We apply this pdf to the calculation of the confidence intervals on the true proper motion for an SDSS+USNO-B proper-motion measurement, and discuss several scientific applications of the SDSS proper-motion catalog. Our results have various applications in studies of the galactic structure and stellar kinematics. Specifically, they are crucial for searching hyper-velocity stars in the Galaxy.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number116
    JournalAstronomical Journal
    Volume142
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2011

    Keywords

    • astrometry
    • catalogs
    • proper motions

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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