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Paper: The Dusty Homunculus Nebula of Eta Carinae
Volume: 332, The Fate of the Most Massive Stars
Page: 302
Authors: Smith, N.
Abstract: I review recent observational results concerning the structure, kinematics, mass, and dust properties of the Homunculus nebula around η Carinae. The review is biased toward observations at infrared wavelengths, because IR wavelengths are uniquely well-suited for deciphering the nebular structure, and I feel that they have provided some of our most fundamental clues about the Homunculus. One key observational advance in understanding the structure of the Homunculus has been that the polar lobes have a double-shell structure, with a thin outer shell of cool dust and molecular hydrogen, and a warmer inner shell seen in tracers of warm atomic gas like [Fe ii]. This double-shell structure helps constrain fits to the integrated mid- to far-IR spectral energy distribution of η Carinae, which lead to an estimate of more than 10 MSolar for the total mass of the Homunculus. This mass estimate is much higher than previous estimates from the 2-12 μm emission, and has critical implications for the mass and kinetic energy released during the Great Eruption in the 1840s. I also briefly review why we might expect the formation of large grains to have been favored in the eruption, and I discuss some aspects of the Homunculus as our best example of a pre-hypernova/GRB environment.
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