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Eta Carinae




In 1827 Eta Carinae started to shine with unusual brightness. For several years the luminosity incremented unsteadily, placing Eta Carinae as the second brightest star in the night sky, after Sirius. Then, from 1857, Eta Carinae's lumnosity decreased rapidly, below naked eye visibility. 


This event is known as the Great Explosion. Eta Carinae exploded as a near-supernova, an event that did not terminate its existence. One of the reasons for the sudden decrease in visible luminosity is that the explotion created the Homunculus Nebula, that now obsures the star.


Eta Carinae had a stable luminosity for the first half of the twentieth century, but since 1953 it has been increasing unsteadily. In 1998 it suddenly doubled, returning to naked eye visibility. Astronomers expect Eta Carinae to explode a true supernova in the future.


This piano piece tells this story. The composition starts with Eta Carinae entering the Great Explosion. The second section represents the period of low luminosity, when Eta Carinae was obscured by the Homunculus Nebula. From there, Eta Carinae starts reappearing in the skies, slowly and haphazardly, returning to its original greatness, represented by a variation of the first theme. For the last section of the piece I imagined the true supernova, that has not happened yet, but that someday will end Eta Carinae's existence.


Performance by Luis Ramírez

September 6, 2013

Lorne Watson Recital Hall

Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada

Eta Carinae - Arturo Morfín
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