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S. Ivarsson, K.E. Nielsen (CUA & GSFC), T.R. Gull (GSFC), J.D. Hillier (U. Pittsburgh)
HST/STIS high dispersion, high spatial resolution spectra in the near UV (2424-2705A) were recorded of Weigelt D, located 0.25" from Eta Carinae, before, during and after the star's 2003.5 minimum. Most nebular emission, including Lyman-alpha pumped Fe II and [Fe III] lines show phase dependent variations with disappearance at the minimum and reappearance a few months later. Circumstellar absorptions increase at minimum, especially in the Fe II resonance lines originating not only from ground levels but also meta stable levels well above the ground levels. These ionization/excitation effects can be explained by a sudden change in UV flux reaching the blobs, likely due to a line-of-sight obscuration of the hotter companion star, Eta Car B, recently discovered by Iping et al. (poster, this meeting). The scattered starlight seen towards Weigelt D display noticeable different line profiles than the direct starlight from Eta Carinae. P-Cygni absorption profiles in Fe II stellar lines observed directly towards Eta Carinae, show terminal velocities up to -550 km/s. However, scattered starlight of Weigelt D display significant lower velocities ranging from -40 to -150 km/s.We interpret this result to be indicative that no absorbing Fe II wind structure exists between the Central source and Weigelt D. The lower velocity absorption appears to be connected to the outer Fe II wind structure of Eta Car A extending beyond Weigelt D intersecting the observer's line of sight. This result is consistent with the highly extended wind of Eta Car A.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.