Atomic Astrophysics, Lund Observatory, Lund University, Box 43, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
2 Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics, Code 681, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 CASA, 389 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Corresponding author: H. Hartman, email@example.com
Accepted: 10 February 2004
We have obtained deep spectra from 1640 to 10 100 Å with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) of the strontium filament, a largely neutral emission nebulosity lying close to the very luminous star Eta Carinae and showing an uncommon spectrum. Over 600 emission lines, both permitted and forbidden, have been identified. The majority originates from neutral or singly-ionized iron group elements (Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni). Sr is the only neutron capture element detected. The presence of Sr II, numerous strong and lines and the dominance of over are notable discoveries. While emission lines of hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen are associable with other spatial structures at other velocities within the Homunculus, no emission lines from these elements correspond to the spatial structure or velocity of the filament. Moreover, no identified filament emission line requires an ionization or excitation energy above approximately 8 eV. Ionized gas extends spatially along the aperture, oriented along the polar axis of the Homunculus, and in velocity around the strontium filament. We suggest that the strontium filament is shielded from ultraviolet radiation at energies above 8 eV, but is intensely irradiated by the central star at wavelengths longward of 1500 Å.
Key words: line: identification / stars: circumstellar matter / stars: kinematics / stars: individual: Eta Carinae
Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.
© ESO, 2004