Hubble’s Law Implies Benford’s Law for Distances to Galaxies
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A recent article by Alexopoulos and Leontsinis presented empirical evidence that the first digits of the distances from the Earth to galaxies are a reasonably good fit to the probabilities predicted by Benford’s law, the well known logarithmic statistical distribution of significant digits. The purpose of the present article is to give a theoretical explanation, based on Hubble’s law and mathematical properties of Benford’s law, why galaxy distances might be expected to follow Benford’s law. The new galaxy-distance law derived here, which is robust with respect to change of scale and base, to additive and multiplicative computational or observational errors, and to variability of the Hubble constant in both time and space, predicts that conformity to Benford’s law will improve as more data on distances to galaxies becomes available. Conversely, with the logical derivation of this law presented here, the recent empirical observations may be viewed as independent evidence of the validity of Hubble’s law.
KeywordsBenford’s law Hubble’s law stars galaxies significant digit
The authors are grateful to Erika Rogers for bringing the article Alexopoulos & Leontsinis (2014) to our attention, and to Theodoros Alexopoulos and Stefanos Leontsinis at CERN for providing them with their original data, and also to Frederic Rasio and the reviewer for very helpful comments.