An unusual brightening of Eta Carinae

Kris Davidson, Theodore R. Gull, Roberta M Humphreys, Kazunori Ishibashi, Patricia Whitelock, Leonid Berdnikov, Peter J. Mcgregor, Travis S. Metcalfe, Elisha Polomski, Mario Hamuy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


HST/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph data show that the apparent near-UV, visual-wavelength, and near-IR brightness of η Car increased by a factor of two during 1998. Meanwhile its Homunculus ejecta nebula brightened by about 30%, the largest fluctuation of this type in the past 40 years. These developments were quite unexpected and are not easy to explain. Some dust has probably been destroyed, while the star's luminosity may have increased even though it was already close to the Eddington limit. Such a rapid luminosity change would be a truly remarkable phenomenon, not predicted by existing models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1777-1783
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Circumstellar matter
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: individual (η Carinae)
  • Stars: peculiar
  • Stars: winds, outflows

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