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

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Andreoni, Igor
IAA authors: 
Kann, D. Alexander;Agüí Fernández, José Feliciano
Andreoni, Igor;Coughlin, Michael W.;Perley, Daniel A.;Yao, Yuhan;Lu, Wenbin;Cenko, S. Bradley;Kumar, Harsh;Anand, Shreya;Ho, Anna Y. Q.;Kasliwal, Mansi M.;de Ugarte Postigo, Antonio;Sagués-Carracedo, Ana;Schulze, Steve;Kann, D. Alexander;Kulkarni, S. R.;Sollerman, Jesper;Tanvir, Nial;Rest, Armin;Izzo, Luca;Somalwar, Jean J.;Kaplan, David L.;Ahumada, Tomás;Anupama, G. C.;Auchettl, Katie;Barway, Sudhanshu;Bellm, Eric C.;Bhalerao, Varun;Bloom, Joshua S.;Bremer, Michael;Bulla, Mattia;Burns, Eric;Campana, Sergio;Chandra, Poonam;Charalampopoulos, Panos;Cooke, Jeff;D'Elia, Valerio;Das, Kaustav Kashyap;Dobie, Dougal;Agüí Fernández, José Feliciano;Freeburn, James;Fremling, Cristoffer;Gezari, Suvi;Goode, Simon;Graham, Matthew J.;Hammerstein, Erica;Karambelkar, Viraj R.;Kilpatrick, Charles D.;Kool, Erik C.;Krips, Melanie;Laher, Russ R.;Leloudas, Giorgos;Levan, Andrew;Lundquist, Michael J.;Mahabal, Ashish A.;Medford, Michael S.;Miller, M. Coleman;Möller, Anais;Mooley, Kunal P.;Nayana, A. J.;Nir, Guy;Pang, Peter T. H.;Paraskeva, Emmy;Perley, Richard A.;Petitpas, Glen;Pursiainen, Miika;Ravi, Vikram;Ridden-Harper, Ryan;Riddle, Reed;Rigault, Mickael;Rodriguez, Antonio C.;Rusholme, Ben;Sharma, Yashvi;Smith, I. A.;Stein, Robert D.;Thöne, Christina;Tohuvavohu, Aaron;Valdes, Frank;van Roestel, Jan;Vergani, Susanna D.;Wang, Qinan;Zhang, Jielai
Publication type: 
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 close<SUP>1</SUP>. 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 jet<SUP>2-9</SUP>, 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 Facility<SUP>10</SUP> survey data, we calculate a rate of 0.0 2<SUB>−0.01</SUB><SUP>+0.04</SUP> 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 observations<SUP>11</SUP>. 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.
ADS Bibcode: 
Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena