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Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate a scienza ed arte. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eta Carinae's Homunculus

Homunculus Nebula is surrounding the star system Eta Carinae. The nebula is embedded within a much larger ionized hydrogen region, which is the Carina Nebula. Homunculus is believed to have been ejected in a huge outburst from Eta Carinae in 1841, so brightly to be visible from Earth. This massive explosion produced two polar lobes and an equatorial disc, moving outwards. Though Eta Carinae is quite away, approximately 7,500 light-years, it is possible to distinguish in the nebula, many structures with the size of about the diameter of our solar system. Knots, dust lanes and radial streaks appear quite clearly in many images.
At the  http://staff.polito.it/amelia.sparavigna/Astronomical-astrofractool-web.htm, I am comparing the imaging of Homunculus Nebula, obtained by Hubble Space Telescope, and that from the Gemini South Telescope. 
See also http://arxiv.org/abs/1005.4323,  A comment on Eta Carinae's Homunculus Nebula imaging.