The Radio Source Around $\eta$ Carinae

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Session 39 -- Interferometry II
Oral presentation, Tuesday, 2:00-6:30, Zellerbach Playhouse Room

[39.06] The Radio Source Around $\eta$ Carinae

S.~M.~White (U.~Maryland), R.~A.~Duncan (ATNF), J.~Lim (Caltech), G.~J.~Nelson (ATNF/Paul Wild Obs.), S.~A.~Drake (USRA/HEASARC), M.~R.~Kundu (U.~Maryland)

The first high--spatial--resolution (1{\hbox{$^{\prime\prime}$}}) radio image of the source surrounding the famous massive southern star $\eta$ Carinae has been obtained with the Australia Telescope. The image shows a number of interesting features: a strong central peak; ridges of emission close to the peak and extending away from it in the directions of putative ``jets'' seen in the HST image of the region, and also other ridges in the directions of the lobes of the Homunculus; a box--like extended feature of dimension 7{\hbox{$^{\prime\prime}$}} \ $\times$ 5{\hbox{$^{\prime\prime}$}}, with its major axis orthogonal to the major axis of the Homunculus; and two fainter lobes extending to 5{\hbox{$^{\prime\prime}$}} \ from the star in the directions of both lobes of the Homunculus. The radio image bears a strong resemblance to the high--resolution infra--red images of the region around the star. No radio emission associated with the more extended X--ray--emitting nebula is detected. The current rate of mass loss from the star is estimated, and physical conditions within the nebula are discussed.

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