Submillimetre Variability of Eta Carinae: cool dust within the outer ejecta

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Authors
Gomez, H. L.
Vlahakis, C.
Stretch, C. M.
Dunne, L.
Eales, S. A.
Beelen, A.
Gomez, E. L.
Edmunds, M. G.
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Abstract
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Previous submillimetre (submm) observations detected 0.7 solar masses of cool dust emission around the Luminous Blue Variable (LBV) star Eta Carinae. These observations were hindered by the low declination of Eta Carinae and contamination from free-free emission orginating from the stellar wind. Here, we present deep submm observations with LABOCA at 870um, taken shortly after a maximum in the 5.5-yr radio cycle. We find a significant difference in the submm flux measured here compared with the previous measurement: the first indication of variability at submm wavelengths. A comparison of the submm structures with ionised emission features suggests the 870um is dominated by emission from the ionised wind and not thermal emission from dust. We estimate 0.4 +/- 0.1 solar masses of dust surrounding Eta Carinae. The spatial distribution of the submm emission limits the mass loss to within the last thousand years, and is associated with mass ejected during the great eruptions and the pre-outburst LBV wind phase; we estimate that Eta Carinae has ejected > 40 solar masses of gas within this timescale.
Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures, accepted by MNRAS Letters
Keywords
Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
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