Eta Carinae



  • Star in Carina which is a highly visible feature of the infrared sky. The star seen in visible light brightened by many magnitudes in the 1840s and has now faded to telescope visibility. It seems to be surrounded by a dust cloud several times the size of the solar system, which is maintained by the star’s radiation at a temperature of about 250K and suggests severe mass loss from the star. The star is seen at visible wavelengths and the cloud at infrared. The cloud is sometimes called the Homunculus because of its supposed human appearance.