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Origin of the Central Constant Emission Component of Eta Carinae

By D. Henley, A. Okazaki, A. Damineli, J. M. Pittard, K. E. Nielsen, T. Gull, A. Pollock, S. Owocki, K. Davidson, Kenji Hamaguchi, M. F. Corocoran, D. J. Hillier and K. Ishibashi


The X-ray campaign observation of the wind-wind colliding (WWC) binary system, Eta Carinae, targeted at its periastron passage in 2003, presented a detailed view of the flux and spectral variations of the X-ray minimum phase. One of the discoveries in this campaign was a central constant emission (CCE) component very near the central WWC source (Hamaguchi et al. 2007, ApJ, 663, 522). The CCE component was noticed between 1-3 keY during the X-ray minima and showed no variation on either short timescales within any observation or long timescales of up to ~ 10 years. Hamaguchi et al. (2007) discussed possible origins as collisionally heated shocks from the fast polar winds from Eta Car or the fast moving outflow from the WWC with the ambient gas, or shocked gas that is intrinsic to the wind of Eta Car. During the 2009 periastron passage, we launched another focussed observing campaign of Eta Carinae with the Chandra, XMM-Newton and Suzaku observatories, concentrating on the X-ray faintest phase named the deep X-ray minimum. Thanks to multiple observations during the deep X-ray minimum, we found that the CCE spectrum extended up to 10 keV, indicating presence of hot plasma of kT approx.4-6 keV. This result excludes two possible origins that assume relatively slow winds (v approx. 1000 km/s) and only leaves the possibility that the CCE plasma is wind blown bubble at the WWC downstream. The CCE spectrum in 2009 showed a factor of 2 higher soft band flux as the CCE spectrum in 2003, while the hard band flux was almost unchanged. This variation suggests decrease in absorption column along the line of sight. We compare this result with recent increase in V-band magnitude of Eta Carinae and discuss location of the CCE plasma

Topics: Astronomy
Year: 2010
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