Tidal disruption events are caused by a star being torn apart by the intense gravity of a galaxy’s central black hole. Image credit: M. Helfenbein, Yale University/OPAC
A new theory has been proposed to explain the extremely destructive events of when a star gets ripped apart by the gravity of a supermassive black hole. This event, also known as a tidal disruption event (TDE), produces a bright flare of radiation. It’s from these observations of the flares that theoretical physicists at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute and UC Santa Cruz have been able to produce this unified model.
“Only in the last decade or so have we been able to distinguish TDEs from other galactic phenomena, and the new model will provide us with the basic framework for understanding these rare events,” says Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and Niels Bohr Professor at the University of Copenhagen.
In a lot of observable galaxies, the black hole that resides at the centre is largely inactive in terms of consuming surrounding material and emitting any light. TDEs are rarely come across as they only happen once every 10,000 years in a typical ...