Stellar Tidal Disruption Events in General Relativity

dc.contributor.ORCID0000-0002-5987-1471 (Kesden, M)
dc.contributor.authorStone, Nicholas C.
dc.contributor.authorKesden, Michael
dc.contributor.authorCheng, Roseanne M.
dc.contributor.authorvan Velzen, Sjoert
dc.contributor.utdAuthorKesden, Michael
dc.descriptionDue to copyright restrictions and/or publisher's policy full text access from Treasures at UT Dallas is limited to current UTD affiliates (use the provided Link to Article).
dc.description.abstractA tidal disruption event (TDE) ensues when a star passes too close to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) in a galactic center, and is ripped apart by its tidal field. The gaseous debris produced in a TDE can power a bright electromagnetic flare as it is accreted by the SMBH; so far, several dozen TDE candidates have been observed. For SMBHs with masses above approximate to 10⁷ M⊙, the tidal disruption of solar-type stars occurs within ten gravitational radii of the SMBH, implying that general relativity (GR) is needed to describe gravity. Three promising signatures of GR in TDEs are: (1) a super-exponential cutoff in the volumetric TDE rate for SMBH masses above approximate to 10⁸ M⊙ due to direct capture of tidal debris by the event horizon, (2) delays in accretion disk formation (and a consequent alteration of the early-time light curve) caused by the effects of relativistic nodal precession on stream circularization, and (3) quasi-periodic modulation of X-ray emission due to global precession of misaligned accretion disks and the jets they launch. We review theoretical models and simulations of TDEs in Newtonian gravity, then describe how relativistic modifications give rise to these proposed observational signatures, as well as more speculative effects of GR. We conclude with a brief summary of TDE observations and the extent to which they show indications of these predicted relativistic signatures.
dc.description.departmentSchool of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
dc.description.sponsorshipEinstein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Number PF5-160145; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant FG-2015-65299; NSF Grant PHY-1607031; NASA Grant 17-ATP17-0045; U.S. Dept. of Energy, and supported by its contract W-7405-ENG-36 to Los Alamos National Laboratory
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationStone, Nicholas C., Michael Kesden, Roseanne M. Cheng, and Sjoert van Velzen. 2019. "Stellar tidal disruption events in general relativity." General Relativity and Gravitation 51(2): art. 30, doi: 10.1007/s10714-019-2510-9
dc.publisherSpringer/Plenum Publishers
dc.rights©2019 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature
dc.source.journalGeneral Relativity and Gravitation
dc.subjectBlack holes (Astronomy) spin
dc.subjectRelativistic astrophysics
dc.subjectSpace and time
dc.subjectGeneral relativity (Physics)
dc.subjectGalactic nuclei
dc.subjectMagnetohydrodynamics, Simulations
dc.subjectWhite dwarf stars
dc.subjectCygnus X-1
dc.titleStellar Tidal Disruption Events in General Relativity


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