A tidal disruption flare in A1689 from an archival x-ray survey of galaxy clusters

W. Peter Maksym, M. P. Ulmer, Michael Eracleous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Theory suggests that a star making a close passage by a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy can under most circumstances be expected to emit a giant flare of radiation as it is disrupted and a portion of the resulting stream of shock-heated stellar debris falls back onto the black hole itself. We examine the first results of an ongoing archival survey of galaxy clusters using Chandra and XMM-Newton-selected data and report a likely tidal disruption flare from SDSS J131122.15-012345.6 in A1689. The flare is observed to vary by a factor of ≳30 over at least two years to have maximum L ×(0.3-3.0 keV) ≳ 5 × 1042 erg s -1 and to emit as a blackbody with kT ∼ 0.12 keV. From the galaxy population as determined by existing studies of the cluster, we estimate a tidal disruption rate of 1.2 × 10-4 galaxy-1 yr -1 if we assume a contribution to the observable rate from galaxies whose range of luminosities corresponds to a central black hole mass (M ) between 106 and 108 M.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1050
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume722
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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