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Binary companions will induce spiral shocks in disks around various central objects, such as white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables, Be stars, and conceivably supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei. We employ analytic models for self-similar spiral shocks in accretion flows and couple them with shear broadening and instrumental responses to estimate these effects in optically thin lines. Even weak shocks can have significant effects upon the emission lines expected from such disks similar to those sometimes observed. For an even number of shocks, the separations and heights of the two-horned lines will vary with binary phase, while for an odd number of shocks red/blue asymmetries appear, with the red and blue components alternating in brightness. Because these spiral shocks could possibly play the dominant role in angular momentum transport within disks, while substantial viscosity would smear out these internal shocks, this line shape diagnostic can have important implications for fundamental accretion disk theory.
This work is supported in part by NSF grant AST91-02106.
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