Photometric mode identification methods of non-radial pulsations in eclipsing binaries - I. Dynamic eclipse mapping

I. B. Bíró, J. Nuspl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


We present the dynamic eclipse mapping method designed specifically to reconstruct the surface intensity patterns of non-radial stellar oscillations on components of eclipsing binaries. The method needs a geometric model of the binary, accepts the light curve and the detected pulsation frequencies on input, and on output yields estimates of the pulsation patterns, in the form of images, thus allowing a direct identification of the surface mode numbers (ℓ, m). Since it has minimal modelling requirements and can operate on photometric observations in arbitrary wavelength bands, dynamic eclipse mapping is well suited to analyse the wide-band time series collected by space observatories. We have investigated the performance and the limitations of the method through extensive numerical tests on simulated data, in which almost all photometrically detectable modes with a latitudinal complexity ℓ- |m| ≤ 4 were properly restored. The method is able by its nature to simultaneously reconstruct multimode pulsations from data covering a sufficient number of eclipses as well as pulsations on components with a tilted rotation axis of a known direction. It can also be applied in principle to isolate the contribution of hidden modes from the light curve. Sensitivity tests show that moderate errors in the geometric parameters and the assumed limb darkening can be partially tolerated by the inversion, in the sense that the lower degree modes are still recoverable. Tidally induced or mutually resonant pulsations, however, are an obstacle that neither the eclipse mapping nor any other inversion technique can ever surpass. We conclude that, with reasonable assumptions, dynamic eclipse mapping could be a powerful tool for mode identification, especially in moderately close eclipsing binary systems, where the pulsating component is not seriously affected by tidal interactions so that the pulsations are intrinsic to them, and not a consequence of the binarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1615
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2011


  • Asteroseismology
  • Binaries: eclipsing
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Stars: oscillations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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