8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 5 Stars and the Sun
Poster, Wednesday, September 8, 2004, 9:00am-10:00pm

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[5.04] Chandra, RXTE and XMM-Newton observations of eta Carinae during the 2003 X-ray eclipse

M. F. Corcoran (USRA & NASA-GSFC/LHEA), K. Hamaguchi (NRC & NASA-GSFC/LHEA)

Eta Carinae, arguably the Galaxy's most massive, luminous and unstable star is a key object in understanding how the most massive stars form and evolve. It may be an analog to GRB hypernova progenitors and perhaps to the first stellar objects to form in the early Universe. Evidence gathered over the last decade indicates that Eta Carinae has a hidden, hot companion star. The nature of this companion, even its existence, is a matter of some controversy, and if the star really exists, its role in the formation and evolution of Eta Car itself is not well understood. The best evidence for the existence of this companion comes from the observation of X-ray eclipses which occur with a well-defined period of 5.54 years. The last X-ray eclipse occurred in the summer of 2003, and was observed by a unique, multi-wavelength, coordinated campaign including space-based and ground-based observatories. We present an overview of these observations, and discuss what they tell us about the companion and its influence on Eta Carinae, and what they imply for our understanding of these most massive stars.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://lheawww.gsfc.nasa.gov/users/corcoran/etacar/2003.5/. 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: corcoran@barnegat.gsfc.nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.