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Old 31-01-2019, 11:18 AM
gary
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Unhappy Homunculus is rapidly becoming obscured by the brightening of Eta Carina

A press release by the Université de Montréal in Canada today announces a
finding that the Homunculus is rapidly becoming obscured by the brightening
of Eta Carina, so much so that perhaps within a decade, and almost certainly
by 2036, it will be difficult to see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Université de Montréal
A team of 17 researchers led by Brazilian astronomer Augusto Damineli, with input from Université de Montréal's Anthony Moffatt, believe that the increasing brightness of Eta Carinae is not intrinsic to the star itself, as is commonly believed. In fact, it is likely caused by the dissipation of a dust cloud positioned exactly in front of it as seen from the Earth.

This cloud, the researchers posit in a new study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, completely shrouds the star and its winds, blotting out much of its light emanating towards Earth. The surrounding Homunculus, by contrast, can be seen directly because it is 200 times larger than the obscuring cloudlet and its brightness is thus almost unaffected.

In 2032 (with an uncertainty of plus or minus four years), the dusty cloud will have dissipated, so that the brightness of the central star will no longer increase and the Homunculus will be lost in its glare, the research team believes.

And that will provide an opportunity for deeper study of Eta Carinae itself, even showing that it is not one, but in fact two, stars.

I guess we've been lucky to live through a time to have seen it and it
is what it is, but from an observational point of view it will be sad to
see it become obscured.

But one day there are those, perhaps even us, who might witness Eta
Carina going supernova which would be quite a show.

Press Release :-
https://nouvelles.umontreal.ca/en/ar...the-night-sky/

"Distinguishing Circumstellar from Stellar Photometric Variability in Eta Carinae" by Augusto Damineli et. al. abstract :-
https://arxiv.org/abs/1901.00531

Full paper (free, pdf) :-
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1901.00531.pdf
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Old 31-01-2019, 01:56 PM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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Even more reason for us to observe and / or image the Homunculus as much as possible over the next decade whilst waiting for Eta to go bang.
As always, another informative post, thanks Gary.
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Old 31-01-2019, 02:39 PM
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Still shows up just fine in narrowband, so imaging will not be a problem in our life times imho.
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Old 31-01-2019, 06:45 PM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Saw that figure 8 lobes in Paul Hatchman's 20" from wiruna years ago and imaged it so many times too. oh well....M8 is still intact.
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Old 31-01-2019, 08:37 PM
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What sort of scope do you currently need to see it?
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:26 PM
gary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobF View Post
What sort of scope do you currently need to see it?
Hi Rob,

It is seen even in an 8" as a small peanut shaped object.

To see the filaments within the Homunculus, something like an 18"
or 20" readily does it under magnification and with good seeing.

It really does look angry.
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:34 PM
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astroron (Ron)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobF View Post
What sort of scope do you currently need to see it?
Rob on nights of good seeing lots of detail including filaments can be seen in the 16".
One of the sideways jets stands out also.
Cheers
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary View Post
Hi Rob,

It is seen even in an 8" as a small peanut shaped object.

To see the filaments within the Homunculus, something like an 18"
or 20" readily does it under magnification and with good seeing.

It really does look angry.
I saw it in 2016 with a C14 on a star party and thought it was an optical flaw, but it is real. Then I looked it up with my much fainter ED110 but could still see it very faint.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:54 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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I'm a bit confused - is it fading or will it be overwhelmed by light?

Alex.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post
I'm a bit confused - is it fading or will it be overwhelmed by light?

Alex.

It will be overwhelmed by light of the eta system itself.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:04 PM
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I thought that was the case. So not fading or dimming.

So, it's the dust between us and the Hommunculous that's dissipating, and it is this dust that has toned down the light coming from Eta Carina that's allowed us to view the Hommunculous. What a fortunate set of circumstances and timing that has allowed us to view it at this time of our history/existence!
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post
I thought that was the case. So not fading or dimming.

So, it's the dust between us and the Hommunculous that's dissipating, and it is this dust that has toned down the light coming from Eta Carina that's allowed us to view the Hommunculous. What a fortunate set of circumstances and timing that has allowed us to view it at this time of our history/existence!
Yes.. I think in general we are living in a very special times....
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:41 PM
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I was unaware of that paper until your post (BTW thanks!) and due to my CCD camera being serviced in the USA at the moment.....
....put this odd thing called an eyepiece (TeleVue Nagler) on the end of my RC16 and had a gander at Eta last week....it had been a couple of years since I observed it visually.

My first thought was "Hummm... Eta looks brighter! "

Seems I was not imagining the change in appearance.

Eta going supernova in the next few years would however be way cool!
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:53 AM
N1 (Mirko)
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I spent some time viewing it on 1 February, using an 8" dob, and powers around 200x. Both lobes were very obvious, indicating above-average seeing that night. The nearer lobe (SE) was visibly brighter than the one on the far side (NW).

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary View Post
Originally Posted by RobF http://www.iceinspace.com.au/vbiis/i...s/viewpost.gif
What sort of scope do you currently need to see it?

Hi Rob,

It is seen even in an 8" as a small peanut shaped object.

To see the filaments within the Homunculus, something like an 18"
or 20" readily does it under magnification and with good seeing.

It really does look angry.
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Old 28-02-2019, 01:39 PM
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So a new brightening to -1 (brighter than Canopus) in the 2030s ? Like almost 200 years ago in 1841 ?
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