Anomalous spectral effects in the Weigelt blobs of Eta Carinae

Vladilen Letokhov and Sveneric Johansson

in Astrophysical Lasers

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548279
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720512 | DOI:
 Anomalous spectral effects in the Weigelt blobs of Eta Carinae

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Astrophysical lasers in the visible and near-IR ranges have been discovered in the Weigelt blobs of the luminous blue variable (LBV) star Eta Carinae (η Car). This massive and luminous star is a most remarkable stellar object located close enough to be observed in great detail. Using speckle interferometry Weigelt and Ebersberger (1986) discovered three remarkably compact objects at an angular distance between 0.1’ and 0.3’ northwest of the star, which corresponds to distances from the star of the order of 1016 cm, a few light days. The objects have been called ‘the Weigelt blobs’ after their discoverer. The blobs are moving at low speeds of the order of 50 km/s and are producing many hundreds of intense, narrow emission lines unlike the spectra of any other known objects. Thus, the spectral lines from different parts of η Car have unique properties in many respects: intensity, spectral width, time, and position variations. This chapter shows that a number of spectral puzzles in the Weigelt blobs are conditioned by a high radiation energy density.

Keywords: Weigelt blobs; luminous blue variable; Eta Carinae; luminous star; spectra lines; radiation energy density

Chapter.  5528 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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