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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[114.03] Global X-ray Spectral Variation of Eta Carinae through the 2003 X-ray Minimum

K. Hamaguchi, M. F. Corcoran (NASA's GSFC and USRA), N. E. White, T. Gull (NASA's GSFC), A. Damineli (IAGUSP), K. Davidson (University of Minnesota)

We report on the results of the X-ray observing campaign of the massive, evolved star Eta Carinae in 2003 around its recent X-ray Minimum, mainly using data from the XMM-Newton observatory. These imaging observations show that the hard X-ray source associated with the Eta Carinae system does not completely disappear in any of the observations during the Minimum. The variation of the spectral shape revealed two emission components. One newly discovered component did not exhibit any variation on kilo-second to year-long timescales, in a combined analysis with earlier ASCA and ROSAT data, and might represent the collision of a high speed outflow from Eta Carinae with ambient gas clouds. The other emission component was strongly variable in flux but the temperature of the hottest plasma did not vary significantly at any orbital phase. Absorption to the hard emission (N\rm H~1.7\times1023~cm-2), was about a factor of three larger than the absorption determined from the cutoff of the soft emission, and reached a maximum of ~4\times1023~cm-2 before the Minimum. The thermal Fe\rm XXV emission line showed significant excesses on both the red and blue sides of the line outside the Minimum and exhibited a large redward excess during the Minimum. This variation in the line profile probably requires an abrupt change in ionization balance in the shocked gas. We use the observed variations in the Fe\rm XXV line, the Fe K fluorescent line, and other spectral features to constrain the mechanism which produces the X-ray Minimum.

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