In determining the distances to stars within the Milky Way galaxy, one often uses photometric or spectroscopic parallaxes. In these methods, the type of each individual star is determined, and the absolute magnitude of that star type is compared with the measured apparent magnitude to determine individual distances. In this paper, we define the term statistical photometric parallax, in which statistical knowledge of the absolute magnitudes of stellar populations is used to determine the underlying density distributions of those stars. This technique has been used to determine the density distribution of the Milky Way's stellar halo and its component tidal streams, using very large samples of stars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Most recently, the volunteer computing platform MilkyWay@home has been used to find the best-fitting model parameters for the density of these halo stars.
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