Letter | Published:

Spectrally resolved eclipse maps of the accretion disk in UX Ursae Majoris

Nature volume 362, pages 518520 (08 April 1993) | Download Citation

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Abstract

ACCRETION disks play an important role in many astrophysical environments, such as active galactic nuclei, protostellar systems, X-ray binaries and cataclysmic variables. The lack of spatially resolved information, however, has meant that theoretical models for accretion disks are in general poorly constrained by observations. Here we use the shape of the light curves from an eclipsing cataclysmic variable, UX Ursae Majoris, to reconstruct the spectral energy distribution (in the range 3,600–10,000 Å) across the face of an accretion disk. The spectral resolution is sufficient to reveal both the radial dependence of absorption and emission line features within the disk, and the spectral details of the bright spot formed at the point where the accretion stream from the secondary star collides with the disk. Such detailed reconstructions of accretion-disk spectra should help to bridge the gap between observations and theoretical models.

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Author information

Author notes

    • V. S. Dhillon

    Royal Greenwich Observatory, Apartado de Correos 321, E–38780 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Tenerife, Spain

    • Keith Horne

    Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA

Affiliations

  1. Astronomical Institute 'Anton Pannekoek' and Center for High Energy Astrophysics, Kruislaan 403, NL–1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    • René G. M. Rutten
    • , V. S. Dhillon
    • , Keith Horne
    • , E. Kuulkers
    •  & J. van Paradijs

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https://doi.org/10.1038/362518a0

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