On the influence of the companion star in Eta Carinae: 2D radiative transfer modeling of the ultraviolet and optical spectra
Jose H. Groh (1), D. John Hillier (2), Thomas I. Madura (1), Gerd Weigelt (1)
(1) Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy, Germany, (2) Univ. of Pittsburgh, USA
We present 2D radiative transfer modeling of the Eta Carinae binary system accounting for the presence of a wind-wind collision (WWC) cavity carved in the optically-thick wind of the primary star. By comparing synthetic line profiles with HST/STIS spectra obtained near apastron, we show that the WWC cavity has a strong influence on multi-wavelength diagnostics. This influence is regulated by the modification of the optical depth in the continuum and spectral lines. We find that H-alpha, H-beta, and Fe II lines are the most affected by the WWC cavity, since they form over a large volume of the primary wind. These spectral lines depend on latitude and azimuth since, according to the orientation of the cavity, different velocity regions of a spectral line are affected. For 2D models with orientation corresponding to orbital inclination angle 110deg < i < 140deg and longitude of periastron 210deg < omega < 330deg, the blueshifted and zero-velocity regions of the line profiles are the most affected. These orbital orientations are required to simultaneously fit the UV and optical spectrum of Eta Car, for a half-opening angle of the cavity in the range 50-70deg. We find that the excess P-Cygni absorption seen in H-alpha, H-beta and optical Fe II lines in spherical models becomes much weaker or absent in the 2D models, in agreement with the observations. The observed UV spectrum of Eta Car, dominated by Fe II absorption lines, is superbly reproduced by our 2D cavity models. Small discrepancies still remain, as H-gamma and H-delta absorptions are overestimated by our models. We suggest that photoionization of the wind of the primary by the hot companion star is responsible for the weak absorption seen in these lines. Our CMFGEN models indicate that the primary star has a mass-loss rate of 8.5x10e-4 Msun/yr and wind terminal velocity of 420 km/s around the 2000 apastron.
Reference: Groh et al. (2012), MNRAS, 423, 1623
Status: Manuscript has been accepted