HST/FOS spectroscopy of ETA carinae: The star itself, and ejecta within 0.3 arcsec

Kris Davidson, Dennis Ebbets, Gerd Weigelt, Roberta M. Humphreys, Arsen R. Hajian, Nolan R. Walborn, Michael Rosa

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103 Scopus citations


Ground-based spectroscopy of η Car includes at least four components ABCD within a core region less than 0.4″ across, and usually other material as well. Using the HST's Faint Object Spectrograph, we have obtained separate data on component A and on B+C+D. Object A is found to be the central star; this is the first time that the spectrum of the star η Car has been observed without severe contamination by surrounding ejecta. The spectrum is that of a hot dense stellar wind with a mass-loss rate of the order of 10-3 script M sign yr-1. A more detailed nonspherical analysis of the data has not yet been done. Objects BCD appear to be ejecta rather than companion stars, since their combined spectrum has many forbidden lines with no sign of any stellar spectrum different from that of A. Excitation mechanisms in BCD are of great interest and deserve more theoretical study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1784-1796
Number of pages13
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995


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