Astrophysics (Index)About

eclipse mapping

(using eclipse light curves to map surface features)

Eclipse mapping is the use of light curves of eclipsed bodies to determine characteristics, such as those of the surface and/or atmosphere. It is currently of interest in studying disks (e.g., accretion disks) and extra-solar planets (secondary eclipses of transiting planets), e.g., to determine the temperature of different parts of the object. As a hot spot moves out of sight, the wavelengths associated with its black-body radiation show a reduction. Similar methods have been used in studying stars, e.g., to see if a Rossiter-McLaughlin effect can be detected.

Transit mapping is using the light curve of a transit, e.g., an exoplanet in front of a star, to determine information about the surface of the planet or star. The light curves at the beginning and end of the planet reveal more information about its atmosphere. And the light curve throughout the transit can reveal information about star spots.

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