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A very luminous jet from the disruption of a star by a massive black hole

Andreoni, I, Coughlin, MW, Perley, DA, Yao, Y, Lu, W, Cenko, SB, Kumar, H, Anand, S, Ho, AYQ, Kasliwal, MM, de Ugarte Postigo, A, Sagués-Carracedo, A, Schulze, S, Kann, DA, Kulkarni, SR, Sollerman, J, Tanvir, N, Rest, A, Izzo, L, Somalwar, JJ , Kaplan, DL, Ahumada, T, Anupama, GC, Auchettl, K, Barway, S, Bellm, EC, Bhalerao, V, Bloom, JS, Bremer, M, Bulla, M, Burns, E, Campana, S, Chandra, P, Charalampopoulos, P, Cooke, J, D’Elia, V, Das, KK, Dobie, D, Fernández, JFA, Freeburn, J, Fremling, C, Gezari, S, Goode, S, Graham, MJ, Hammerstein, E, Karambelkar, VR, Kilpatrick, CD, Kool, EC, Krips, M, Laher, RR, Leloudas, G, Levan, A, Lundquist, MJ, Mahabal, AA, Medford, MS, Miller, MC, Möller, A, Mooley, KP, Nayana, AJ, Nir, G, Pang, PTH, Paraskeva, E, Perley, RA, Petitpas, G, Pursiainen, M, Ravi, V, Ridden-Harper, R, Riddle, R, Rigault, M, Rodriguez, AC, Rusholme, B, Sharma, Y, Smith, IA, Stein, RD, Thöne, C, Tohuvavohu, A, Valdes, F, van Roestel, J, Vergani, SD, Wang, Q and Zhang, J (2022) A very luminous jet from the disruption of a star by a massive black hole. Nature, 612. pp. 430-434. ISSN 0028-0836

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Tidal disruption events (TDEs) are bursts of electromagnetic energy that are released when supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies violently disrupt a star that passes too close1. TDEs provide a window through which to study accretion onto supermassive black holes; in some rare cases, this accretion leads to launching of a relativistic jet2–9, but the necessary conditions are not fully understood. The best-studied jetted TDE so far is Swift J1644+57, which was discovered in γ-rays, but was too obscured by dust to be seen at optical wavelengths. Here we report the optical detection of AT2022cmc, a rapidly fading source at cosmological distance (redshift z = 1.19325) the unique light curve of which transitioned into a luminous plateau within days. Observations of a bright counterpart at other wavelengths, including X-ray, submillimetre and radio, supports the interpretation of AT2022cmc as a jetted TDE containing a synchrotron ‘afterglow’, probably launched by a supermassive black hole with spin greater than approximately 0.3. Using four years of Zwicky Transient Facility10 survey data, we calculate a rate of 0.02−0.01+0.04 per gigapascals cubed per year for on-axis jetted TDEs on the basis of the luminous, fast-fading red component, thus providing a measurement complementary to the rates derived from X-ray and radio observations11. Correcting for the beaming angle effects, this rate confirms that approximately 1 per cent of TDEs have relativistic jets. Optical surveys can use AT2022cmc as a prototype to unveil a population of jetted TDEs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane; Dust; Synchrotrons; Aircraft; Aircraft; Dust; Synchrotrons; General Science & Technology
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 16:04
Last Modified: 30 May 2023 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41586-022-05465-8
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18537
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