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Title: Relativistic jet activity from the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole [Discovery of the onset of rapid accretion by a dormant massive black hole]

Abstract

Supermassive black holes have powerful gravitational fields with strong gradients that can destroy stars that get too close producing a bright flare in ultraviolet and X-ray spectral regions from stellar debris that forms an accretion disk around the black hole. The aftermath of this process may have been seen several times over the past two decades in the form of sparsely sampled, slowly fading emission from distant galaxies, but the onset of the stellar disruption event has not hitherto been observed. Here we report observations of a bright X-ray flare from the extragalactic transient Swift J164449.3+573451. This source increased in brightness in the X-ray band by a factor of at least 10,000 since 1990 and by a factor of at least 100 since early 2010. We conclude that we have captured the onset of relativistic jet activity from a supermassive black hole. A companion paper comes to similar conclusions on the basis of radio observations. Furthermore, this event is probably due to the tidal disruption of a star falling into a supermassive black hole, but the detailed behaviour differs from current theoretical models of such events.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [1];  [3];  [6];  [1];  [5];  [2];  [5];  [7];  [1];  [8];  [2];  [6];  [2];  [9] more »;  [10];  [5];  [2];  [1];  [11];  [12];  [13];  [14];  [15];  [14];  [16];  [14];  [17];  [14];  [12];  [18];  [1];  [19];  [20];  [14];  [6];  [21];  [22];  [2];  [18];  [11];  [23];  [24];  [25];  [18];  [3];  [9];  [2];  [9];  [18];  [3];  [1];  [18] « less
  1. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
  2. INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Merate (Italy)
  3. INAF - Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Palermo (Italy)
  4. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  5. Univ. of Leicester, Leicester (United Kingdom)
  6. CRESST, Greenbelt, MD (United States); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States); Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, MD (United States)
  7. Univ. College London, Dorking (United Kingdom)
  8. CRESST, Greenbelt, MD (United States); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States); Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, MD (United States)
  9. ASI Science Data Center, Frascati (Italy)
  10. INAF- Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Capoterra (Italy)
  11. Kyoto Univ., Kyoto (Japan)
  12. CRESST, Greenbelt, MD (United States); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States); Univ. Space Research Assoc., Columbia, MD (United States)
  13. Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Taipei (Taiwan)
  14. Seoul National Univ., Seoul (Republic of Korea)
  15. INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monteporzio Catone (Italy)
  16. Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), Daejeon (Republic of Korea)
  17. Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo (Japan); RIKEN, Saitama (Japan)
  18. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  19. Nihon Univ., Tokyo (Japan)
  20. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
  21. RIKEN, Saitama (Japan)
  22. Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), Daejeon (Republic of Korea); Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo (Japan)
  23. National Central Univ., Chung-Li (Taiwan)
  24. Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo (Japan)
  25. ASI Science Data Center, Frascati (Italy); INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monteporzio Catone (Italy)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1357206
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 476; Journal Issue: 7361; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; astronomy; astrophysics

Citation Formats

Burrows, D. N., Kennea, J. A., Ghisellini, G., Mangano, V., Zhang, B., Page, K. L., Eracleous, M., Romano, P., Sakamoto, T., Falcone, A. D., Osborne, J. P., Campana, S., Beardmore, A. P., Breeveld, A. A., Chester, M. M., Corbet, R., Covino, S., Cummings, J. R., D'Avanzo, P., D'Elia, V., Esposito, P., Evans, P. A., Fugazza, D., Gelbord, J. M., Hiroi, K., Holland, S. T., Huang, K. Y., Im, M., Israel, G., Jeon, Y., Jeon, Y. -B., Jun, H. D., Kawai, N., Kim, J. H., Krimm, H. A., Marshall, F. E., Mészáros, P., Negoro, H., Omodei, N., Park, W. -K., Perkins, J. S., Sugizaki, M., Sung, H. -I., Tagliaferri, G., Troja, E., Ueda, Y., Urata, Y., Usui, R., Antonelli, L. A., Barthelmy, S. D., Cusumano, G., Giommi, P., Melandri, A., Perri, M., Racusin, J. L., Sbarufatti, B., Siegel, M. H., and Gehrels, N. Relativistic jet activity from the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole [Discovery of the onset of rapid accretion by a dormant massive black hole]. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1038/nature10374.
Burrows, D. N., Kennea, J. A., Ghisellini, G., Mangano, V., Zhang, B., Page, K. L., Eracleous, M., Romano, P., Sakamoto, T., Falcone, A. D., Osborne, J. P., Campana, S., Beardmore, A. P., Breeveld, A. A., Chester, M. M., Corbet, R., Covino, S., Cummings, J. R., D'Avanzo, P., D'Elia, V., Esposito, P., Evans, P. A., Fugazza, D., Gelbord, J. M., Hiroi, K., Holland, S. T., Huang, K. Y., Im, M., Israel, G., Jeon, Y., Jeon, Y. -B., Jun, H. D., Kawai, N., Kim, J. H., Krimm, H. A., Marshall, F. E., Mészáros, P., Negoro, H., Omodei, N., Park, W. -K., Perkins, J. S., Sugizaki, M., Sung, H. -I., Tagliaferri, G., Troja, E., Ueda, Y., Urata, Y., Usui, R., Antonelli, L. A., Barthelmy, S. D., Cusumano, G., Giommi, P., Melandri, A., Perri, M., Racusin, J. L., Sbarufatti, B., Siegel, M. H., & Gehrels, N. Relativistic jet activity from the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole [Discovery of the onset of rapid accretion by a dormant massive black hole]. United States. doi:10.1038/nature10374.
Burrows, D. N., Kennea, J. A., Ghisellini, G., Mangano, V., Zhang, B., Page, K. L., Eracleous, M., Romano, P., Sakamoto, T., Falcone, A. D., Osborne, J. P., Campana, S., Beardmore, A. P., Breeveld, A. A., Chester, M. M., Corbet, R., Covino, S., Cummings, J. R., D'Avanzo, P., D'Elia, V., Esposito, P., Evans, P. A., Fugazza, D., Gelbord, J. M., Hiroi, K., Holland, S. T., Huang, K. Y., Im, M., Israel, G., Jeon, Y., Jeon, Y. -B., Jun, H. D., Kawai, N., Kim, J. H., Krimm, H. A., Marshall, F. E., Mészáros, P., Negoro, H., Omodei, N., Park, W. -K., Perkins, J. S., Sugizaki, M., Sung, H. -I., Tagliaferri, G., Troja, E., Ueda, Y., Urata, Y., Usui, R., Antonelli, L. A., Barthelmy, S. D., Cusumano, G., Giommi, P., Melandri, A., Perri, M., Racusin, J. L., Sbarufatti, B., Siegel, M. H., and Gehrels, N. Wed . "Relativistic jet activity from the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole [Discovery of the onset of rapid accretion by a dormant massive black hole]". United States. doi:10.1038/nature10374. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1357206.
@article{osti_1357206,
title = {Relativistic jet activity from the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole [Discovery of the onset of rapid accretion by a dormant massive black hole]},
author = {Burrows, D. N. and Kennea, J. A. and Ghisellini, G. and Mangano, V. and Zhang, B. and Page, K. L. and Eracleous, M. and Romano, P. and Sakamoto, T. and Falcone, A. D. and Osborne, J. P. and Campana, S. and Beardmore, A. P. and Breeveld, A. A. and Chester, M. M. and Corbet, R. and Covino, S. and Cummings, J. R. and D'Avanzo, P. and D'Elia, V. and Esposito, P. and Evans, P. A. and Fugazza, D. and Gelbord, J. M. and Hiroi, K. and Holland, S. T. and Huang, K. Y. and Im, M. and Israel, G. and Jeon, Y. and Jeon, Y. -B. and Jun, H. D. and Kawai, N. and Kim, J. H. and Krimm, H. A. and Marshall, F. E. and Mészáros, P. and Negoro, H. and Omodei, N. and Park, W. -K. and Perkins, J. S. and Sugizaki, M. and Sung, H. -I. and Tagliaferri, G. and Troja, E. and Ueda, Y. and Urata, Y. and Usui, R. and Antonelli, L. A. and Barthelmy, S. D. and Cusumano, G. and Giommi, P. and Melandri, A. and Perri, M. and Racusin, J. L. and Sbarufatti, B. and Siegel, M. H. and Gehrels, N.},
abstractNote = {Supermassive black holes have powerful gravitational fields with strong gradients that can destroy stars that get too close producing a bright flare in ultraviolet and X-ray spectral regions from stellar debris that forms an accretion disk around the black hole. The aftermath of this process may have been seen several times over the past two decades in the form of sparsely sampled, slowly fading emission from distant galaxies, but the onset of the stellar disruption event has not hitherto been observed. Here we report observations of a bright X-ray flare from the extragalactic transient Swift J164449.3+573451. This source increased in brightness in the X-ray band by a factor of at least 10,000 since 1990 and by a factor of at least 100 since early 2010. We conclude that we have captured the onset of relativistic jet activity from a supermassive black hole. A companion paper comes to similar conclusions on the basis of radio observations. Furthermore, this event is probably due to the tidal disruption of a star falling into a supermassive black hole, but the detailed behaviour differs from current theoretical models of such events.},
doi = {10.1038/nature10374},
journal = {Nature (London)},
number = 7361,
volume = 476,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {8}
}

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