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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[114.10] Physical Conditions of Eta Car Complex Environment Revealed From Photoionization Modeling

E. M. Verner (UDC/CUA and GSFC/NASA), F. Bruhweiler, K. E. Nielsen (CUA and GSFC/NASA), T. Gull (GSFC/NASA), G. Vieira Kober (SSA/GSFC/NASA), M. Corcoran (USRA/GSFC/NASA)

The very massive star, Eta Carinae, is enshrouded in an unusual complex environment of nebulosities and structures. The circumstellar gas gives rise to distinct absorption and emission components at different velocities and distances from the central source(s). Through photoionization modeling, we find that the radiation field from the more massive B-star companion supports the low ionization structure throughout the 5.54 year period. The radiation field of an evolved O-star is required to produce the higher ionization emission seen across the broad maximum. Our studies utilize the HST/STIS data and model calculations of various regimes from doubly ionized species (T= 10,000K) to the low temperature (T = 760 K) conditions conductive to molecule formation (CH and OH). Overall analysis suggests the high depletion in C and O and the enrichment in He and N. The sharp molecular and ionic absorptions in this extensively CNO - processed material offers a unique environment for studying the chemistry, dust formation processes, and nucleosynthesis in the ejected layers of a highly evolved massive star.

EV research and presentation at the AAS is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF 0206150) program.

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