EDP Sciences
AMBER: Instrument description and first astrophysical results
Press Release
Free Access
Volume 464, Number 1, March II 2007
AMBER: Instrument description and first astrophysical results
Page(s) 87 - 106
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20065577
Published online 12 September 2006

A&A 464, 87-106 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20065577

Near-infrared interferometry of $\eta$ Carinae with spectral resolutions of 1 500 and 12 000 using AMBER/VLTI

G. Weigelt1, S. Kraus1, T. Driebe1, R.G. Petrov2, K.-H. Hofmann1, F. Millour2, 3, O. Chesneau4, D. Schertl1, F. Malbet3, D.J. Hillier5, T. Gull6, K. Davidson7, A. Domiciano de Souza2, 4, P. Antonelli4, U. Beckmann1, Y. Bresson4, A. Chelli3, M. Dugué4, G. Duvert3, S. Gennari8, L. Glück3, P. Kern3, S. Lagarde4, E. Le Coarer3, F. Lisi8, K. Perraut3, P. Puget3, F. Rantakyrö9, S. Robbe-Dubois2, A. Roussel4, E. Tatulli3, 8, G. Zins3, M. Accardo8, B. Acke3, 10, K. Agabi2, E. Altariba3, B. Arezki3, E. Aristidi2, C. Baffa8, J. Behrend1, T. Blöcker1, S. Bonhomme4, S. Busoni8, F. Cassaing11, J.-M. Clausse4, J. Colin4, C. Connot1, A. Delboulbé3, P. Feautrier3, D. Ferruzzi8, T. Forveille3, E. Fossat2, R. Foy12, D. Fraix-Burnet3, A. Gallardo3, E. Giani8, C. Gil3, 13, A. Glentzlin4, M. Heiden1, M. Heininger1, O. Hernandez Utrera3, D. Kamm4, M. Kiekebusch9, D. Le Contel4, J.-M. Le Contel4, T. Lesourd14, B. Lopez4, M. Lopez14, Y. Magnard3, A. Marconi8, G. Mars4, G. Martinot-Lagarde14, 4, P. Mathias4, P. Mège3, J.-L. Monin3, D. Mouillet3, 15, D. Mourard4, E. Nussbaum1, K. Ohnaka1, J. Pacheco4, C. Perrier3, Y. Rabbia4, S. Rebattu4, F. Reynaud16, A. Richichi17, A. Robini2, M. Sacchettini3, M. Schöller9, W. Solscheid1, A. Spang4, P. Stee4, P. Stefanini8, M. Tallon12, I. Tallon-Bosc12, D. Tasso4, L. Testi8, F. Vakili2, O. von der Lühe18, J.-C. Valtier4, M. Vannier2, 9, 19, N. Ventura3, K. Weis20, and M. Wittkowski17

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
2  Laboratoire Universitaire d'Astrophysique de Nice, UMR 6525 Université de Nice - Sophia Antipolis/CNRS, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice Cedex 2, France
3  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, UMR 5571 Université Joseph Fourier/CNRS, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
4  Laboratoire Gemini, UMR 6203 Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/CNRS, BP 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
5  Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, 3941 O Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
6  Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Planets and Stellar Astrophysics, Goddard Space Flight Center, 20771 Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
7  School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
8  INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
9  European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
10  Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, KU-Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
11  ONERA/DOTA, 29 avenue de la Division Leclerc, BP 72, 92322 Chatillon Cedex, France
12  Centre de Recherche Astronomique de Lyon, UMR 5574 Université Claude Bernard/CNRS, 9 avenue Charles André, 69561 Saint Genis Laval Cedex, France
13  Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto, Portugal
14  Division Technique INSU/CNRS UPS 855, 1 place Aristide Briand, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
15  Laboratoire Astrophysique de Toulouse, UMR 5572 Université Paul Sabatier/CNRS, BP 826, 65008 Tarbes Cedex, France
16  IRCOM, UMR 6615 Université de Limoges/CNRS, 123 avenue Albert Thomas, 87060 Limoges Cedex, France
17  European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
18  Kiepenheuer Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
19  Departamento de Astronomia, Universidad de Chile, Chile
20  Astronomisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany; & Lise-Meitner fellowship

(Received 9 May 2006 / Accepted 1 August 2006 )

Aims. We present the first NIR spectro-interferometry of the LBV $\eta$ Carinae . The observations were performed with the AMBER instrument of the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) using baselines from 42 to 89 m. The aim of this work is to study the wavelength dependence of $\eta$ Car's optically thick wind region with a high spatial resolution of 5 mas (11 AU) and high spectral resolution.
Methods. The observations were carried out with three 8.2 m Unit Telescopes in the K-band. The raw data are spectrally dispersed interferograms obtained with spectral resolutions of 1500 (MR-K mode) and 12 000 (HR-K mode). The MR-K observations were performed in the wavelength range around both the $\ion{He}{i}$ 2.059 $\mu$m and the Br$\gamma$ 2.166 $\mu$m emission lines, the HR-K observations only in the Br$\gamma$ line region.
Results. The spectrally dispersed AMBER interferograms allow the investigation of the wavelength dependence of the visibility, differential phase, and closure phase of $\eta$ Car. In the K-band continuum, a diameter of $4.0\pm0.2$ mas (Gaussian FWHM, fit range 28-89 m baseline length) was measured for $\eta$ Car's optically thick wind region. If we fit Hillier et al. (2001, ApJ, 553, 837) model visibilities to the observed AMBER visibilities, we obtain 50% encircled-energy diameters of 4.2, 6.5 and 9.6 mas in the 2.17$\,\mu$m continuum, the $\ion{He}{i}$, and the Br$\gamma$ emission lines, respectively. In the continuum near the Br$\gamma$ line, an elongation along a position angle of $120\degr\pm15\degr$ was found, consistent with previous VINCI/VLTI measurements by van Boekel et al. (2003, A&A, 410, L37). We compare the measured visibilities with predictions of the radiative transfer model of Hillier et al. (2001), finding good agreement. Furthermore, we discuss the detectability of the hypothetical hot binary companion. For the interpretation of the non-zero differential and closure phases measured within the Br$\gamma$ line, we present a simple geometric model of an inclined, latitude-dependent wind zone. Our observations support theoretical models of anisotropic winds from fast-rotating, luminous hot stars with enhanced high-velocity mass loss near the polar regions.

Key words: stars: individual: $\eta$ Carinae -- stars: mass-loss, emission-line Be, circumstellar matter, winds, outflows -- infrared: stars -- techniques: interferometric

© ESO 2007

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