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A&A Supplement series, Vol. 127, February I 1998, 581-586

Received January 24; accepted May 27, 1997

3D eclipse mapping

R.G.M. Rutten

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, Apartado de Correos 321, E-38700 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain


A light curve modelling and fitting program is presented for cataclysmic variable stars and related objects. It allows modelling of a three-dimensional disk in conjunction with the Roche-lobe filling secondary star, thus rendering it a very general tool for light curve analysis. Optimization of the solution is based on the maximum-entropy algorithm. Some bench-mark tests are presented, and the general applicability of the program is explored. The program is used here to study the problem of reconstructing the brightness distribution on flaring accretion disks from eclipse light curves, and the results are compared with those obtained using the well-established standard technique of flat-disk eclipse mapping. A previous study suggested that erroneous radial temperature profiles were obtained with flat-disk eclipse mapping. It is shown here that flat-disk eclipse mapping does reproduce the radial brightness structure of flared accretion disks very well, provided that the inner disk is not obscured by the outer rim of the disk.

keywords: binaries: eclipsing -- cataclysmic variables -- accretion

Copyright by the European Southern Observatory (ESO)