NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017B-0285

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Program Information for 2017B-0285


PI: Armin Rest, STScI, arest@stsci.edu
Address: 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore 21218 USA

CoI: Alejandro Clocchiatti, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
CoI: David James, U. of Washington
CoI: Steven Margheim, Gemini Observatory
CoI: Thomas Matheson,
CoI: Doug Welch, McMaster U.
CoI: Alfredo Zenteno, CTIO

Title: Photometric Time Series of Carinae's Great Eruption

Abstract: $eta$~Car serves as our most important template for understanding non-SN transients from massive stars in external galaxies. However, until recently, no outburst spectra were available because its historic ``Great Eruption'' (GE) occurred from 1838-1858, before the invention of the astronomical spectrograph, and only visual estimates of its brightness were recorded. Now we can obtain a spectrophotometric sequence of the eruption through its light echoes we discovered. Our initial spectroscopic follow-up revealed that its outburst contradicted traditional expectations for LBV eruptions. Differences between the GE and the extragalactic transients presumed to be its analogues raise questions about traditional scenarios for the outburst. We propose to obtain a photometric time series of the GE from multiple directions, allowing the original eruption of $eta$~Car to be studied as a function of time as well as latitude, something only possible with light echoes. The unique detailed photometric study of the light echoes of $eta$~Car from this proposal, in addition to the companion spectroscopic study proposed in our other proposal, will enable us to understand (episodic) mass-loss in the most massive evolved stars and their connection to the most energetic core-collapse SNe.

Program Type: Standard/Galactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2017B):  CT-4m/DECam -- 2n on Aug 01 - Aug 02 2017, Aug 15 2017
Run 2 (2017B):  CT-4m/DECam -- 2n on Aug 16 2017, Aug 23 - Aug 25 2017


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017B-0285

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