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Title: A simple test for periodic signals in red noise
Authors: Vaughan, Simon A.
First Published: 2005
Publisher: EDP Sciences
Citation: Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2005, 431, pp.391-403.
Abstract: We demonstrate a simple method for testing the significance of peaks in the periodogram of red noise data. The procedure was designed to test for spurious periodicities in X-ray light curves of active galaxies, but can be used quite generally to test for periodic components against a background noise spectrum assumed to have a power law shape. The method provides a simple and fast test of the significance of candidate periodic signals in short, well-sampled time series such as those obtained from XMM-Newton observations of Seyfert galaxies, without the need for Monte Carlo simulations. A full account is made of the number of trials and the uncertainties inherent to the model fitting. Ignoring these subtle effects can lead to substantially overestimated significances. These difficulties motivate us to demand high standards of detection (minimum > 99.9 per cent confidence) for periodicities in sources that normally show red noise spectra. The method also provides a simple means to estimate the power spectral index, which may be an interesting parameter itself, regardless of the presence/absence of periodicities.
DOI Link: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041453
ISSN: 0004-6361
eISSN: 1432-0746
Version: Publisher version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Article
Rights: © The European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2005. Deposited with permission of the publisher.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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