Fr.: AG de la Carène
A → Luminous Blue Variable star in the constellation → Carina; also known as HD 94910. AG Carinae lies about 6 kpc (20,000 → light-years) away and is surrounded by a → nebula. It is also a → spectroscopic variable, with the variability on time-scale of years. During the epochs of minimum in the visual → light curve (mV ~ 8.1), the star is relatively hot and has a → WN11 spectral type, showing strong He I, H I, and N II → emission lines, weak He II 4686 Å emission, and Si IV 4088-4116 Å absorption. During the maximum epochs of the light curve (mV ~ 6.0), the star is cooler, and the spectrum is reminiscent of extreme A-type → hypergiants, with a strong emission of H I, Fe II, and T III lines. The transition between both phases is characterized by the appearance of peculiar features in the spectrum, such as absorption-line splitting, strong → electron-scattering wings in He I and Fe II lines, and apparent → inverse P Cygni profiles in He I lines. The presence of a massive → bipolar nebula around AG Car testifies to a recent (t< 104 years) phase of high → mass loss. The morphology and kinematics of the nebula suggest a → dynamical age of 8.5 × 103 years and a high mass of → ionized nebular material (~ 4.2 Msun), which is likely composed of → ejecta from the central star. The nebular abundances show evidence of moderate nitrogen → enrichment. Properties of the → circumstellar nebula, studied in the → mid-infrared and → far-infrared, reveal an incredibly high dust mass of ~ 0.25 Msun, → dust temperature between 76 and 99 K, and the presence of large → dust grains of ~ 1 μm, as deduced from far-→ infrared excess. Assuming a normal → gas-to-dust ratio of 100, the total nebular mass of AG Car could be as high as ~ 30 Msun which would be of the order of, or even higher than, the mass of the → Homunculus nebula around → Eta Carinae. At the time when the AG Car nebula was ejected, the → interstellar bubble around the central star likely contained a negligible amount of material compared to the total mass of the nebula, implying that most of the nebular mass was ejected by the central star (Groh et al., 2009, ApJ 698, 1698).