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Title: Discovery of a new kind of explosive X-ray transient near M86

We present the discovery of a new type of explosive X-ray flash in Chandra images of the old elliptical galaxy M86. This unique event is characterized by the peak luminosity of 6 × 10{sup 42} erg s{sup –1} for the distance of M86, the presence of precursor events, the timescale between the precursors and the main event (∼4000 s), the absence of detectable hard X-ray and γ-ray emission, the total duration of the event, and the detection of a faint associated optical signal. The transient is located close to M86 in the Virgo cluster at the location where gas and stars are seen protruding from the galaxy probably due to an ongoing wet minor merger. We discuss the possible mechanisms for the transient and conclude that the X-ray flash could have been caused by the disruption of a compact white dwarf star by a ∼10{sup 4} M {sub ☉} black hole. Alternative scenarios such that of a foreground neutron star accreting an asteroid or the detection of an off-axis (short) γ-ray burst cannot be excluded at present.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. SRON, Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA, Utrecht (Netherlands)
  2. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ (United Kingdom)
  3. Department of Physics, Texas Tech University, Box 41051, Lubbock, TX 79409-1051 (United States)
  4. Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA (United Kingdom)
  5. Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  6. International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845 (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348561
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 779; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTEROIDS; BLACK HOLES; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; DETECTION; EMISSION; EXPLOSIVES; GALAXIES; HARD X RADIATION; INTERACTIONS; LUMINOSITY; NEUTRON STARS; PRECURSOR; TRANSIENTS; WHITE DWARF STARS