A tidal disruption event (also known as a tidal disruption flare) is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when a star approaches sufficiently close to a supermassive black hole that it is pulled apart by the black hole's tidal force, experiencing spaghettification. A portion of the star's mass can be captured into an accretion disk around the black hole, resulting in a temporary flare of electromagnetic radiation as matter in the disk is consumed by the black hole. According to early papers, tidal disruption events should be an inevitable consequence of massive black holes activity hidden in galaxy nuclei, whereas later theorists concluded that the resulting explosion or flare of radiation from the accretion of the stellar debris could be a unique signpost for the presence of a dormant black hole in the center of a normal galaxy.
Physicist John A. Wheeler suggested that the breakup of a star in the ergosphere of a rotating black hole could induce acceleration of the released gas to relativistic speeds by the so-called "tube of toothpaste effect".Wheeler succeeded in applying the relativistic generalization of the classical Newtonian tidal disruption problem to the neighborhood of a Schwarzschild or Kerr black hole. However, these early works restricted their attention to incompressible star models and/or to stars penetrating slightly into the Roche radius, conditions in which the tides would have small amplitude.
In 1976, astronomers Juhan Frank and Martin J. Rees of the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy explored the possibility of black holes at the centers of galaxies and globular clusters, defining a critical radius under which stars are disturbed and swallowed by the black hole, suggesting that it is possible to observe these events in certain galaxies.But at the time, the English researchers did not propose any precise model or simulation.
This speculative prediction and this lack of theoretical tools aroused the curiosity of Jean-Pierre Luminet and Brandon Carter of the Paris Observatory in the early 1980s who invented the concept of TDE. Their first works were published in 1982 in the journal Natureand in 1983 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. The authors had managed to describe the tidal disturbances in the heart of AGNs based on the "stellar pancake outbreak" model to use Luminet's expression, a model describing the tide field generated by a supermassive black hole, and the effect they called the "pancake detonation" to qualify the radiation outbreak resulting from these disturbances. Later, in 1986, Luminet and Carter published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Supplement an analysis covering all the cases of TDE and not only the 10% producing "spaghettifications" and other "pancakes flambées".
It was only a decade later, in 1990, that the first TDE-compliant candidates were detected through "All Sky" X-ray survey of DLR's/NASA's ROSAT satellite.Since then, more than a dozen candidates have been discovered, including more active sources in ultraviolet or visible for a reason that remained mysterious.
Finally, the theory of Luminet and Carter was confirmed by the observation of spectacular eruptions resulting from the accretion of stellar debris by a massive object located in the heart of the AGN (e.g. NGC 5128 or NGC 4438) but also in the heart of the Milky Way (Sgr A *). The TDE theory even explains the superluminous supernova SN 2015L, better known by the code name ASASSN-15lh, a supernova that exploded just before being absorbed beneath the horizon of a massive black hole.
Today, all known TDEs and TDE candidates have been listed in "The Open TDE Catalog"run by the Harvard CfA, which has had 91 entries since 1999.
In September 2016, a team from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui, China, announced that, using data from NASA 's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a stellar tidal disruption event was observed at a known black hole. Another team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., detected three additional events. In each case, astronomers hypothesized that the astrophysical jet created by the dying star would emit ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, which would be absorbed by dust surrounding the black hole and emitted as infrared radiation. Not only was this infrared emission detected, but they concluded that the delay between the jet's emission of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation and the dust's emission of infrared radiation may be used to estimate the size of the black hole devouring the star.
In September 2019, scientists using the TESS satellite announced they had witnessed a tidal disruption event of the star ASASSN-19bt, 375 million light years away.[ citation needed ]
In July 2020, astronomers reported the observation of a "hard tidal disruption event candidate" associated with ASASSN-20hx, located near the nucleus of galaxy NGC 6297, and noted that the observation represented one of the "very few tidal disruption events with hard powerlaw X-ray spectra".
A quasar is an extremely luminous active galactic nucleus (AGN), in which a supermassive black hole with mass ranging from millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun is surrounded by a gaseous accretion disk. As gas in the disk falls towards the black hole, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation, which can be observed across the electromagnetic spectrum. The power radiated by quasars is enormous: the most powerful quasars have luminosities thousands of times greater than a galaxy such as the Milky Way.
Star formation is the process by which dense regions within molecular clouds in interstellar space, sometimes referred to as "stellar nurseries" or "star-forming regions", collapse and form stars. As a branch of astronomy, star formation includes the study of the interstellar medium (ISM) and giant molecular clouds (GMC) as precursors to the star formation process, and the study of protostars and young stellar objects as its immediate products. It is closely related to planet formation, another branch of astronomy. Star formation theory, as well as accounting for the formation of a single star, must also account for the statistics of binary stars and the initial mass function. Most stars do not form in isolation but as part of a group of stars referred as star clusters or stellar associations.
An active galactic nucleus (AGN) is a compact region at the center of a galaxy that has a much-higher-than-normal luminosity over at least some portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with characteristics indicating that the luminosity is not produced by stars. Such excess non-stellar emission has been observed in the radio, microwave, infrared, optical, ultra-violet, X-ray and gamma ray wavebands. A galaxy hosting an AGN is called an "active galaxy". The non-stellar radiation from an AGN is theorized to result from the accretion of matter by a supermassive black hole at the center of its host galaxy.
Messier 87 is a supergiant elliptical galaxy with about 1 trillion stars in the constellation Virgo. One of the most massive galaxies in the local universe, it has a large population of globular clusters—about 12,000 compared with the 150–200 orbiting the Milky Way—and a jet of energetic plasma that originates at the core and extends at least 1,500 parsecs, traveling at a relativistic speed. It is one of the brightest radio sources in the sky and a popular target for both amateur and professional astronomers.
A supermassive black hole is the largest type of black hole, containing a mass of the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of times the mass of the Sun (M☉). Black holes are a class of astronomical object that have undergone gravitational collapse, leaving behind spheroidal regions of space from which nothing can escape, not even light. Observational evidence indicates that nearly all large galaxies contain a supermassive black hole, located at the galaxy's center. In the case of the Milky Way, the supermassive black hole corresponds to the location of Sagittarius A* at the Galactic Core. Accretion of interstellar gas onto supermassive black holes is the process responsible for powering quasars and other types of active galactic nuclei.
The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way galaxy; it is a supermassive black hole of 4.100 ± 0.034 million solar masses which powers the compact radio source Sagittarius A*. It is 8.2 ± 0.4 kiloparsecs (26,700 ± 1,300 ly) away from Earth in the direction of the constellations Sagittarius, Ophiuchus, and Scorpius where the Milky Way appears brightest.
In astronomy, a galactic bulge is a tightly packed group of stars within a larger star formation. The term almost exclusively refers to the central group of stars found in most spiral galaxies. Bulges were historically thought to be elliptical galaxies that happened to have a disk of stars around them, but high-resolution images using the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed that many bulges lie at the heart of a spiral galaxy. It is now thought that there are at least two types of bulges: bulges that are like ellipticals and bulges that are like spiral galaxies.
An intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) is a class of black hole with mass in the range 102-105 solar masses: significantly more than stellar black holes but less than the 105-109 solar mass supermassive black holes. Several IMBH candidate objects have been discovered in our galaxy and others nearby, based on indirect gas cloud velocity and accretion disk spectra observations of various evidentiary strength.
Sagittarius A* is a bright and very compact astronomical radio source at the center of the Milky Way, near the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius about 5.6° south of the ecliptic. It is the location of a supermassive black hole, similar to those generally accepted to be at the centers of most if not all spiral and elliptical galaxies.
Messier 32 is a dwarf "early-type" galaxy located about 2.65 million light-years from Earth, appearing in the constellation Andromeda. M32 is a satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and was discovered by Guillaume Le Gentil in 1749. M32 measures 6.5 ± 0.2 thousand light-years in diameter at the widest point.
Brandon Carter, FRS is an Australian theoretical physicist, best known for his work on the properties of black holes and for being the first to name and employ the anthropic principle in its contemporary form. He is a researcher at the Meudon campus of the Laboratoire Univers et Théories, part of the CNRS.
Jean-Pierre Luminet is a French astrophysicist, writer and poet, world-known specialist of black holes and cosmology. He works as research director for the CNRS, and is a member of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), of the Laboratoire Univers et Théories (LUTH) of the Paris-Meudon Observatory and a visiting scientist at the Centre de Physique Théorique (CPT) in Marseilles.
Gamma-ray burst progenitors are the types of celestial objects that can emit gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). GRBs show an extraordinary degree of diversity. They can last anywhere from a fraction of a second to many minutes. Bursts could have a single profile or oscillate wildly up and down in intensity, and their spectra are highly variable unlike other objects in space. The near complete lack of observational constraint led to a profusion of theories, including evaporating black holes, magnetic flares on white dwarfs, accretion of matter onto neutron stars, antimatter accretion, supernovae, hypernovae, and rapid extraction of rotational energy from supermassive black holes, among others.
In astronomy, stellar kinematics is the observational study or measurement of the kinematics or motions of stars through space.
S2, also known as S0–2, is a star that is located close to the radio source Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), orbiting it with a period of 16.0518 years, a semi-major axis of about 970 au, and a pericenter distance of 17 light hours – an orbit with a period only about 30% longer than that of Jupiter around the Sun, but coming no closer than about four times the distance of Neptune from the Sun. The mass when the star first formed is estimated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to have been approximately 14 M☉. Based on its spectral type, it probably has a mass of 10 to 15 solar masses.
A hypercompact stellar system (HCSS) is a dense cluster of stars around a supermassive black hole that has been ejected from the center of its host galaxy. Stars that are close to the black hole at the time of the ejection will remain bound to the black hole after it leaves the galaxy, forming the HCSS.
Swift J164449.3+573451, initially referred to as GRB 110328A, and sometimes abbreviated to Sw J1644+57, was a tidal disruption event, the destruction of a star by a supermassive black hole. It was first detected by the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission on March 28, 2011. The event occurred in the center of a small galaxy in the Draco constellation, about 3.8 billion light-years away.
ASASSN-15lh is an extremely luminous astronomical transient discovered by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN), with the appearance of a superluminous supernova event. It was first detected on June 14, 2015, located within a faint galaxy in the southern constellation Indus, and was the most luminous supernova-like object ever observed. At its peak, ASASSN-15lh was 570 billion times brighter than the Sun, and 20 times brighter than the combined light emitted by the Milky Way Galaxy. The emitted energy was exceeded by PS1-10adi.
NGC 3585 is an elliptical or a lenticular galaxy located in the constellation Hydra. It is located at a distance of circa 60 million light years from Earth, which, given its apparent dimensions, means that NGC 3585 is about 80,000 light years across. It was discovered by William Herschel on December 9, 1784.