AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 58 Eta Carinae
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Hanover Hall

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[58.05] The HST Treasury Project on Eta Carinae

K. Davidson (Univ. of Minnesota), K. Ishibashi (MIT), T.R. Gull (NASA/GSFC), J. C. Martin, R.M. Humphreys (Univ. of Minnesota), A. Damineli (Univ. São Paulo), K. Weis, O. Stahl (Landessternwarte Heidelberg), D.J. Hillier (Univ. of Pittsburgh), M. Corcoran (NASA/GSFC), F. Hamann (Univ. of Florida), N. Walborn (STScI), S. Johansson, H. Hartman (Univ. of Lund), M. Bautista (IVIC)

This program is valuable for a broad range of stellar and nebular astrophysics, as well as data processing techniques and instrument characteristics. While observing this object's mysterious 5.5-year cycle, we obtained data on several distinct, complex, unfamiliar classes of spectra which cannot be observed well elsewhere. The stellar wind parameters lie outside normal experience, the Weigelt ejecta produce narrow-line spectra unlike any other known object, and the other spectra are also unusual. Altogether our results pertain to stellar instabilities close to the Eddington limit, extreme stellar winds, unexplored nebular/atomic excitation processes, nebular gas dynamics, and instrument performance.

The project also represents an extreme application of HST spectroscopy. Since \eta Car and its ejecta are spatially, spectrally, and temporally complex, they require the best available performance of HST/STIS across its full wavelength range. Such observations will probably not be attainable again within the next 15 years. They also require improved data processing techniques which we have developed, useful for HST/STIS programs on other objects. The Eta Car Treasury data archive will be pertinent to a variety of significant problems mentioned above -- not just \eta Carinae. (See a related poster concerning the Archive.)

Here we report that (1) the predicted event did indeed occur during May--July 2003; (2) we obtained the planned data; (3) they show numerous fascinating and difficult-to-explain phenomena; and (4) we sketch improved reduction routines to achieve maximum resolution with STIS/CCD data in general. We also show examples of the spectral structure and variations in Eta Carinae.

This project is supported by STScI grant GO-9420.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://etacar.umn.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: kd@astro.umn.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.