I review the method of Doppler tomography which translates binary-star line profiles taken at a series of orbital phases into a distribution of emission over the binary. I begin with a discussion of the basic principles behind Doppler tomography, including a comparison of the relative merits of maximum entropy regularisation versus filtered back-projection for implementing the inversion. Following this I discuss the issue of noise in Doppler images and possible methods for coping with it. Then I move on to look at the results of Doppler Tomography applied to cataclysmic variable stars. Outstanding successes to date are the discovery of two-arm spiral shocks in cataclysmic variable accretion discs and the probing of the stream/magnetospheric interaction in magnetic cataclysmic variable stars. Doppler tomography has also told us much about the stream/disc interaction in non-magnetic systems and the irradiation of the secondary star in all systems. The latter indirectly reveals such effects as shadowing by the accretion disc or stream. I discuss all of these and finish with some musings on possible future directions for the method. At the end I include a tabulation of Doppler maps published in refereed journals.
Astrotomography, Indirect Imaging Methods in Observational Astronomy
- Pub Date:
- 27 pages, 11 figures, to appear in proceedings of the Astro-tomography workshop, Brussels, eds H.Boffin, D.Steeghs, Springer-Verlag