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Astron. Astrophys. 355, 155-164 (2000)

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17 µm imaging of [FORMULA] Carinae: an onion-like structure for the lobes? *

E. Pantin 1,2,3 and D. Le Mignant 1,4

1 European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile
2 Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium
3 DSM/DAPNIA/SAp CE Saclay, France
4 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de l'Observatoire de Grenoble, France

Received 15 January 1999 / Accepted 22 July 1999


We have obtained a 17 µm image of the [FORMULA] Carinae nebula with a signal to noise ratio never reached before. Once deconvolved, the spatial resolution is of the order of 0.5". The ring and arclike structures seen at 17 µm are very similar to those observed at 12.5 µm; however the intensity maximum is located elsewhere in a dense cold structure seemingly torus-like around the central object. The high S/N ratio achieved in the image gives us a 2-D photometry map of the nebula at 17 µm with a good precision.

Combined with a simultaneous N band (10 µm) image, and a model of the dust thermal emission, we have built up a colour temperature map, which is then used to construct a map of the dust column density in the lobes.

We could test the different models found in the literature concerning the radial density of matter in the lobes, and specifically, pay attention to the question of the hollowness of the lobes. Our modeling of the SE lobe shows that it has a more complex structure than just an external shell, as claimed in some previous works. Our observations can be fit by a radial density model which includes a main, thick, external shell, a secondary shell between 0.30 and 0.55 times the lobe radius, and some material at the center of the lobe. The external shell is believed to be associated with the 1842 Greater Eruption, but we still lack 3D kinematic constrains to assess that the secondary shell is due to the 1890 Lesser Eruption.

Key words: infrared: stars – ISM: structure – ISM: dust, extinction – stars: variables: general – book reviews – radiation mechanisms: thermal

* Based on data taken at 3.6m telescope, La Silla, ESO, Chile

Send offprint requests to: E. Pantin (epantin@cea.fr)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: March 17, 2000