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K. Davidson (University of Minnesota), K. Ishibashi (GSFC and University of Minnesota), T. R. Gull (GSFC), R. M. Humphreys (University of Minnesota)
Damineli, Conti, and Lopes discovered a 5.5-year periodic variation in the average wavelengths of two broad Paschen emission lines produced in the dense wind of Eta Car. They ascribed this effect to orbital motion, which, if confirmed, would be the strongest existing evidence for the binarity of this object. However, they used ground-based data, which are contaminated by very strong emission lines produced in complex ejecta outside the stellar wind, and the line profiles are known to vary. Therefore HST/STIS data, with spatial resolution sufficient to isolate the central stellar wind from its nearby ejecta, are necessary. Here we report and comment on such tests.
Research on Eta Car is supported by grant no.GO-7302 from the Space Telescope Science Institute
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