David Merritt


Estimation of the distribution function f and potential O of hot stellar systems from kinematical data is discussed. When the functional forms of f and O are not specified a priori, accurate estimation of either function requires very high quality data : either accurate "line profiles" at radii extending well beyond an effective radius, or large samples (N > 10^3) of discrete radial velocities. Estimates of O(r) based on much smaller data sets can be very strongly inuenced by assumptions, explicit or implicit, about the form of f. The importance of casting the estimation problem into a mathematically determined form is stressed. Some techniques for nonparametric estimation are presented, with some preliminary results of their application to real stellar systems (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



European Southern Observatory Conference and Workshop Proceedings: "Structure, dynamics and chemical evolution of elliptical galaxies" : Proceedings of the joint ESO/EIPC workshop held at the EIPC venue Marciana Marina, Isola d'Elba, 25-30 May, 1992||Archived in: astro-ph/9510150 30 Oct 1995 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus