The Birth of a Relativistic Jet Following the Disruption of a Star by a Cosmological Black Hole

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Pasham, Dheeraj R.
IAA authors: 
Perez-Torres, Miguel
Pasham, Dheeraj R.;Lucchini, Matteo;Laskar, Tanmoy;Gompertz, Benjamin P.;Srivastav, Shubham;Nicholl, Matt;Smartt, Stephen J.;Miller-Jones, James C. A.;Alexander, Kate D.;Fender, Rob;Smith, Graham P.;Fulton, M.;Dewangan, Gulab;Gendreau, Keith;Coughlin, Eric R.;Rhodes, Lauren;Horesh, Assaf;van Velzen, Sjoert;Sfaradi, Itai;Guolo, Muryel;Castro Segura, Noel;Aamer, Aysha;Anderson, Joseph P.;Arcavi, Iair;Brennan, Seán J.;Chambers, Kenneth;Charalampopoulos, Panos;Chen, Ting-Wan;Clocchiatti, A.;de Boer, Thomas;Dennefeld, Michel;Ferrara, Elizabeth;Galbany, Lluís;Gao, Hua;Gillanders, James H.;Goodwin, Adelle;Gromadzki, Mariusz;Huber, M.;Jonker, Peter G.;Joshi, Manasvita;Kara, Erin;Killestein, Thomas L.;Kosec, Peter;Kocevski, Daniel;Leloudas, Giorgos;Lin, Chien-Cheng;Margutti, Raffaella;Mattila, Seppo;Moore, Thomas;Müller-Bravo, Tomás;Ngeow, Chow-Choong;Oates, Samantha;Onori, Francesca;Pan, Yen-Chen;Perez-Torres, Miguel;Rani, Priyanka;Remillard, Ronald;Ridley, Evan J.;Schulze, Steve;Sheng, Xinyue;Shingles, Luke;Smith, Ken W.;Steiner, James F.;Wainscoat, Richard;Wevers, Thomas;Yang, Sheng
Nature Astronomy
Publication type: 
A black hole can launch a powerful relativistic jet after it tidally disrupts a star. If this jet fortuitously aligns with our line of sight, the overall brightness is Doppler boosted by several orders of magnitude. Consequently, such on-axis relativistic tidal disruption events have the potential to unveil cosmological (redshift z &gt; 1) quiescent black holes and are ideal test beds for understanding the radiative mechanisms operating in super-Eddington jets. Here we present multiwavelength (X-ray, UV, optical and radio) observations of the optically discovered transient AT 2022cmc at z = 1.193. Its unusual X-ray properties, including a peak observed luminosity of ≳10<SUP>48</SUP> erg s<SUP>−1</SUP>, systematic variability on timescales as short as 1,000 s and overall duration lasting more than 30 days in the rest frame, are traits associated with relativistic tidal disruption events. The X-ray to radio spectral energy distributions spanning 5-50 days after discovery can be explained as synchrotron emission from a relativistic jet (radio), synchrotron self-Compton (X-rays) and thermal emission similar to that seen in low-redshift tidal disruption events (UV/optical). Our modelling implies a beamed, highly relativistic jet akin to blazars but requires extreme matter domination (that is, a high ratio of electron-to-magnetic-field energy densities in the jet) and challenges our theoretical understanding of jets.
ADS Bibcode: 
Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena