We present Doppler images and surface differential rotation measurements for the primary of the RS CVn binary IM Pegasi, the guide star for the Gravity Probe B experiment. The data used is a subset of that taken during optical support of the mission and was obtained almost nightly over a near three year period from the Automatic Spectroscopic Telescope operated by Tennessee State University. Using the technique of least-squares deconvolution to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of the data, we have reconstructed 31 maximum entropy Doppler images of the star. The images show that the spot features are relatively stable for over a year (and possibly longer) with both a polar spot and lower latitude features. The most intense features are located on the side facing the secondary. In addition, we have incorporated a solar-like differential rotation law into the imaging process to determine the level of surface differential rotation for IM Peg for 22 epochs. A weighted least-squares average of the measurements gives a surface shear of 0.0142 ± 0.0007 rad/d, meaning that the equator takes ∼440 ± 20 days to lap the poles. Although the level of surface differential rotation was shown to vary over the period of the observations, this may indicate an underestimate in the errors of the method rather than any temporal evolution in the differential rotation.
Marsden, S., Berdyugina, S., Donati, J.-F., Eaton, J. and Williamson, M. (2007), Starspots and relativity: Applied Doppler imaging for the Gravity Probe B mission. Astron. Nachr., 328: 1047-1049. https://doi.org/10.1002/asna.200710872