VLTI-AMBER velocity-resolved aperture-synthesis imaging of Eta Carinae with a spectral resolution of 12000. Studies of the primary star wind and innermost wind-wind collision

Abstract : Context. The mass loss from massive stars is not understood well. Eta Car is a unique object for studying the massive stellar wind during the LBV phase. It is also an eccentric binary with a period of 5.54 yr. The nature of both stars is uncertain, although we know from X-ray studies that there is a wind-wind collision whose properties change with orbital phase. Methods. Observations of Eta Car were carried out with the ESO VLTI and the AMBER instrument between approximately five and seven months before the August 2014 periastron passage. Velocity-resolved aperture-synthesis images were reconstructed from the spectrally dispersed interferograms. Interferometric studies can provide information on the binary orbit, the primary wind, and the wind collision. Results. We present velocity-resolved aperture-synthesis images reconstructed in more than 100 different spectral channels distributed across the Br Gamma 2.166 micrometer emission line. The intensity distribution of the images strongly depends on wavelength. At wavelengths corresponding to radial velocities of approximately -140 to -376 km/s measured relative to line center, the intensity distribution has a fan-shaped structure. At the velocity of -277 km/s, the position angle of the symmetry axis of the fan is ~ 126 degree. The fan-shaped structure extends approximately 8.0 mas (~ 18.8 au) to the southeast and 5.8 mas (~ 13.6 au) to the northwest, measured along the symmetry axis at the 16% intensity contour. The shape of the intensity distributions suggests that the obtained images are the first direct images of the innermost wind-wind collision zone. Therefore, the observations provide velocity-dependent image structures that can be used to test three-dimensional hydrodynamical, radiative transfer models of the massive interacting winds of Eta Car.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 12:31:07 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 12:10:38 PM

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G. Weigelt, K. -H. Hofmann, D. Schertl, N. Clementel, M. F. Corcoran, et al.. VLTI-AMBER velocity-resolved aperture-synthesis imaging of Eta Carinae with a spectral resolution of 12000. Studies of the primary star wind and innermost wind-wind collision. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2016, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201628832⟩. ⟨hal-01630222⟩

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