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

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[58.09] UV nebular absorption in Eta Car and Weigelt D

K. E. Nielsen (CUA & NASA/GSFC), G. L. Vieira (SSAI & NASA/GSFC), T. R. Gull (NASA/GSFC), D. J Lindler (ACC & NASA/GSFC), Eta Car HST Treasury Team

The high angular and high spectral resolution of the HST/STIS MAMA echelle mode, provide an unique means to distinguish the physical structures surrounding Eta Car. Observations are parts of the HST treasury program (K.~Davidson P.I.) for monitoring variations over Eta Car's spectroscopic minimum. Nebular emission is present above and below the stellar spectrum which is about 0.03'' wide. We have extracted the nebular part of the central source spectrum and compared it with the spectrum of Weigelt D, located approximately 0.2'' Northwest of the central source. The spectra show significant similarities and our conclusions are two-fold. First, the radiation from the Wiegelt blobs give an unwanted contribution to the spectrum of the central source, which emphasizes the importance of using an extracted spectrum in a spectral analysis. Second, the Weigelt blobs have so far been assumed to produce a pure emission line spectrum. However, this comparison shows the presence of similar absorption structures previously observed in the spectrum of the central star (Gull et al., 2003, submitted ApJL). Two velocity structures at approximately -50 and -500 km/s, respectively, have been observed in the Weigelt D spectrum. We present identifications of the absorption structures to supplement the emission line work performed by T.~Zethson (2000, PhD Thesis) and provide additional information regarding the geometry of the inner parts of the Eta Car nebula. The -50 km/s velocity component is similar to the absorption structure at -146 km/s observed in the spectrum of the central object. If these velocity systems are related, this implies that the absorption component is located close to the central parts of the nebular system.

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