Two magazine covers of 1983-84
These were among the earliest electronic images of Eta Car, made by K. Davidson with a vile-tempered SIT vidicon
on the 60-inch (1.5-m) telescope at Cerro Tololo in March 1981. The data seemed to lend themselves to contour
maps like these, and several iterations of Janson - van Cittert resolution enhancement produced the right-hand
magazine cover. Even though the seeing had been below average, this processed version was the best image of
the Homunculus up to that time. Excepting two obvious negative artifacts near the star, HST images later confirmed
the reality of the features. (The left picture shows H-alpha plus [N II] emission, while the right one shows
visual-wavelength continuum light.)

During the same telescope run, instrument troubles forced the cancellation of vidicon spectroscopy -- serious bad
luck because, though we didn't know it then, one of Eta's spectroscopic events was underway at exactly that time!

With excellent S/N but relatively poor resolution, these image data produced colorful and decorative renditions.
Some more elaborate color schemes with narrower contour intervals, not shown here, can easily pass for Art.

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