Observation of Circumstellar Environments with the Hubble Space Telescope
Despite serious degradation in the optical of the primary mirror due to spherical aberration, the Hubble Space Telescope has been observing a number of objects known or suspected to exhibit circumstellar jets and/or bipolar outflows in its first year and a half of operation since launch. These sources include Herbig-Haro objects, symbiotic novae, cataclysmic variables, supernovae, luminous blues variables, and proto-planetary nebulae in various stages of evolution. In this paper, I briefly discuss how spherical aberration has affected the ability of HST to carry out research in this particular field and discuss in more detail recent observations of 3 of these objects (Eta Carinae, SN 1987A, and R Aquarii) to illustrate its capabilities and limitations.
KeywordsPoint Spread Function Hubble Space Telescope Spherical Aberration Primary Mirror Cataclysmic Variable
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