AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 114 Massive Binaries
Poster, Wednesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 11, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[114.04] Dynamics of the Shocked Gas in the Eta Carinae System as Seen by Chandra

M. F. Corcoran, K. Hamaguchi (USRA & NASA-GSFC/XAL), D. B. Henley (University of Birmingham), K. Ishibashi (MIT), T. Gull (NASA/GSFC), K. Nielsen (CUA & GSFC), J. M. Pittard (Leeds)

We report on a series of X-ray spectra of the supermassive star Eta Carinae obtained by the High Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer on the CHANDRA X-ray observatory before, during and after the star's X-ray minimum in the summer of 2003. The X-ray spectra show significant variations in emission measure and absorption, in the strength of the iron K edge and fluorescent iron emission, but show little change in the distribution of emission measure with temperature. The CHANDRA spectra also resolve emission from Si, S, Fe and other elements in H-like and He-like configurations. The HETGS spectra show that these lines change in centroid energy along with evidence of changes in the forbidden-to-intercombination ratios of the He-like triplets. These spectra offer strong support that the X-ray emission originates within a shock cone around an unseen, massive companion. The variations of the X-ray line spectrum provide a direct measure of the dynamics of the shocked gas in this cone and also evidence that the hottest region of the shock is not always in collisional ionization equilibrium. We discuss these results in light of the recent discovery of He II 4686 emission and the reported discovery of FUV emission from the companion star. This work was supported by SAO/Chandra grant GO3-4008A.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: corcoran@milkyway.gsfc.nasa.gov

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