Proper motions in the ejecta of η Carinae with a 50 year baseline

Nathan Smith, Robert D. Gehrz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Observations of η Carinae from three separate epochs spanning a total of 50 years are used to measure the proper motions of several easily identifiable features in the Homunculus Nebula. Our principal conclusion is that the equatorial features were ejected significantly after the "Great Eruption," very likely in the outburst that occurred around 1890. The rest of the inner nebula was ejected during the bright phase of 1822 to 1856 that climaxed with the eruption of 1843. The expansion of the bipolar lobes appears to be primarily linear, with a scatter in ejection dates during the period of the Great Eruption. We find a mean ejection date for the southeast polar lobe of 1843.8 ± 7.3 yr, and an ejection date of 1885.8 ± 6.5 yr for the equatorial ejecta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-828
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • ISM
  • Individual (η Carinae) - ISM
  • Jets and outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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