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

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[58.11] Determining cloud parameters with the Curve-of-Growth: Application Eta Car

G. L. Vieira (SSAI & NASA/GSFC), T. R. Gull (NASA/GSFC), F. Bruhweiler, K. E. Nielsen, E. M. Verner (CUA & NASA/GSFC), Eta Car HST Treasury Team

We have investigated the NUV part of the Eta Car spectrum, using data with high spatial and high spectral resolving power obtained with the HST/STIS under the Treasury Program (K.~Davidson P.I.). The NUV spectrum of Eta Car shows a great contribution of absorption features from neutral and singly ionized elements along the line-of-sight. A large number of velocity systems have been observed. The two most prominent, with Doppler shifts corresponding to -146 and -513 km/s respectively, are shown to be useful for investigations of the gaseous environments responsible for the absorption. The -146 and the -513 km/s velocity systems display different characteristics regarding the ionization state and spectral line width, which suggest that they originate at different distances from the central object.

We have investigated the absorption structures before the spectroscopic minimum, occurring during the summer of 2003, with a standard curve-of-growth. We have independently derived the column density and the b-value for the Fe II (-146 km/s) and Ti II (-513 km/s) velocity systems. The excitation temperature has been determined for the -146 km/s velocity system using the photo-ionization code \textsc{cloudy} (Ferland 1996, Ferland et al. 2000). The -146 km/s velocity structure shows noticeable variation over the spectroscopic minimum. The sudden appearance and disappearance of Ti II and V II are astonishing. We have made an attempt to analyze these variations with the curve-of-growth method and will present preliminary results.

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