Letter to the Editor
η Carinae: The 1998 brightening and the smearing-out effect
Leiden Observatory, Postbus 9513, 2300RA Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Accepted: 11 June 2004
A comparison of broad-band photometry of the Homunculus (ground-based data) and of broad-band and narrow-band photometry of the central region (HST-based) from 1997 to 2003 reveals that, apart from the brightening in 1998, the Homunculus as well as the central star varied in a very similar way. This excludes smearing-out effects as an explanation for the difference between the brightening of the central region and that of the Homunculus during 1998. A plausible reason for the homologous light behaviour is enhanced extinction decrease in the line-of-sight to the central region during a global brightening occurring after the 1998.0 spectroscopic event. From 1998 to 2004 there is indeed a brightness excess of ~03 between the Homunculus and the extrapolated secular brightening. We also illustrate that ground-based aperture photometry of the Homunculus is a reliable diagnostic tool for studying the variability of the central star.
Key words: technique: photometric - stars: individual: η Carinae - variables - supergiants
© ESO, 2004