Imaging of stellar surfaces with the Occamian approach and the least-squares deconvolution technique
Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16,
14482 Potsdam, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
3 Tuorla Observatory, University of Turku, 21500 Piikkiö, Finland
Accepted: 3 August 2010
Context. We present in this paper a new technique for the indirect imaging of stellar surfaces (Doppler imaging, DI), when low signal-to-noise spectral data have been improved by the least-squares deconvolution (LSD) method and inverted into temperature maps with the Occamian approach. We apply this technique to both simulated and real data and investigate its applicability for different stellar rotation rates and noise levels in data.
Aims. Our goal is to boost the signal of spots in spectral lines and to reduce the effect of photon noise without loosing the temperature information in the lines.
Methods. We simulated data from a test star, to which we added different amounts of noise, and employed the inversion technique based on the Occamian approach with and without LSD. In order to be able to infer a temperature map from LSD profiles, we applied the LSD technique for the first time to both the simulated observations and theoretical local line profiles, which remain dependent on temperature and limb angles. We also investigated how the excitation energy of individual lines effects the obtained solution by using three submasks that have lines with low, medium, and high excitation energy levels.
Results. We show that our novel approach enables us to overcome the limitations of the two-temperature approximation, which was previously employed for LSD profiles, and to obtain true temperature maps with stellar atmosphere models. The resulting maps agree well with those obtained using the inversion code without LSD, provided the data are noiseless. However, using LSD is only advisable for poor signal-to-noise data. Further, we show that the Occamian technique, both with and without LSD, approaches the surface temperature distribution reasonably well for an adequate spatial resolution. Thus, the stellar rotation rate has a great influence on the result. For instance, in a slowly rotating star, closely situated spots are usually recovered blurred and unresolved, which affects the obtained temperature range of the map. This limitation is critical for small unresolved cool spots and is common for all DI techniques. Finally the LSD method was carried out for high signal-to-noise observations of the young active star V889 Her: the maps obtained with and without LSD are found to be consistent.
Conclusions. Our new technique provides meaningful information on the temperature distribution on the stellar surfaces, which was previously inaccessible in DI with LSD. Our approach can be easily adopted for any other multi-line techniques.
Key words: stars: imaging / stars: activity / methods: data analysis
© ESO, 2010