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Double-Peak and Destroy: Accretion in a Tidal Disruption Event Reveals Itself

28 Apr 2020, 16:00 UTC
Double-Peak and Destroy: Accretion in a Tidal Disruption Event Reveals Itself
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: Prompt Accretion Disk Formation in an X-Ray Faint Tidal Disruption Event
Authors: Tiara Hung et al.
First Author’s Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Status: Submitted to ApJ
To Catch an Accretion Disk
The universe reveals a variety of ways in which stars can die. We observe stars imploding, erupting, and merging, yet the tidal disruption event (TDE) is one of the most tumultuous spectacles of stellar destruction we have discovered so far. This transient phenomenon begins with a star orbiting near a supermassive black hole (SMBH) in the galaxy center. Oblivious to its impending doom, the star’s trajectory pushes it too close to the SMBH’s sphere of gravitational influence and tidal forces begin to shred the stellar structure. The woeful star is now a fly in a supermassive spider’s web: the star will be ripped apart, spaghettified stellar gas coming to form an accretion disk. This then results in a ...

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