The shape and orientation of the Homunculus Nebula based on spectroscopic velocities

Kris Davidson, Nathan Smith, Theodore R. Gull, Kazunori Ishibashi, D. J. Hillier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

Doppler velocities give information about the three-dimensional shape and orientation of the bipolar ejecta of η Car. We report slit spectroscopy obtained using the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (HST/STIS), with spatial resolution adequate for good models. These data allow an independent estimate of the distance to this object. Equatorial velocities, not clearly recognized in earlier work, provide the first definite measure of the bipolar inclination angle relative to our line of sight. Equatorial structure is arguably the most significant new spectroscopic result reported here, and some of the equatorial gas has higher and lower velocities which probably represent later and earlier ejection events. A range of bipolar lobe shapes fit the data reasonably well; the worst ambiguities result from the nature of the object more than from instrumental limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1569-1577
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume121
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Circumstellar matter
  • ISM: individual (Homunculus Nebula)
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: individual (η Carinae)
  • Stars: mass loss
  • Stars: winds, outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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