The homunculus of η Carinae: An interacting stellar winds paradigm

Adam Frank, Bruce Balick, Kris Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We simulate the origin and evolution of the bipolar nebula surrounding η Car using numerical two-dimensional gasdynamical models. The generalized interacting stellar winds scenario, wherein a stellar wind interacts with an aspherical circumstellar environment, is adopted. The eruption wind of 1840-1860, which is taken to be spherically symmetric, interacts with a preeruption toroidal density environment. Using reasonable assumptions of initial conditions and eruption parameters based on archival data, we have performed over 30 simulations in an effort to bracket the initial parameters which produce models that best match observations. We find that models with high pole-to-equator density contrasts (>100) and toroidal density configurations nicely account for the observed morphology and kinematics of the homunculus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L77-L80
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Mar 10 1995


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Shock waves
  • Stars: individual (η Carinae)
  • Stars: mass loss

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