Identification of emission lines in the low-ionization strontium filament near Eta Carinae

H. Hartman, T. Gull, S. Johansson, N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We have obtained deep spectra from 1640 to 10100 Å with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) of the strontium filament, a largely neutral emission nebulosity lying close to the very luminous star Eta Carinae and showing an uncommon spectrum. Over 600 emission lines, both permitted and forbidden, have been identified. The majority originates from neutral or singly-ionized iron group elements (Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni). Sr is the only neutron capture element detected. The presence of Sr II, numerous strong Ti II and V II lines and the dominance of Fe I over Fe II are notable discoveries. While emission lines of hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen are associable with other spatial structures at other velocities within the Homunculus, no emission lines from these elements correspond to the spatial structure or velocity of the Sr filament. Moreover, no identified Sr filament emission line requires an ionization or excitation energy above approximately 8 eV. Ionized gas extends spatially along the aperture, oriented along the polar axis of the Homunculus, and in velocity around the strontium filament. We suggest that the strontium filament is shielded from ultraviolet radiation at energies above 8 eV, but is intensely irradiated by the central star at wavelengths longward of 1500 Å.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Line: identification
  • Stars: circumstellar matter
  • Stars: individual: Eta Carinae
  • Stars: kinematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of emission lines in the low-ionization strontium filament near Eta Carinae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this