Flows of X-ray Gas Reveal the Disruption of a Star by a Massive Black Hole

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dc.contributor.author Miller, Jon M.
dc.contributor.author Kaastra, Jelle S.
dc.contributor.author Miller, M. Coleman
dc.contributor.author Reynolds, Mark T.
dc.contributor.author Brown, Gregory
dc.contributor.author Cenko, S. Bradley
dc.contributor.author Drake, Jeremy J.
dc.contributor.author Gezari, Suvi
dc.contributor.author Guillochon, James
dc.contributor.author Gultekin, Kayhan
dc.contributor.author Irwin, Jimmy A.
dc.contributor.author Levan, Andrew
dc.contributor.author Maitra, Dipankar
dc.contributor.author Maksym, W. Peter
dc.contributor.author Mushotzky, Richard
dc.contributor.author O’Brien, Paul
dc.contributor.author Paerels, Frits
dc.contributor.author de Plaa, Jelle
dc.contributor.author Ramirez-Ruiz, Enrico
dc.contributor.author Strohmayer, Tod
dc.contributor.author Tanvir, Nial
dc.date.accessioned 2018-12-05T21:31:03Z
dc.date.available 2018-12-05T21:31:03Z
dc.date.issued 2018-04-02
dc.identifier.citation Miller, J. et al. (2015): Flows of X-ray Gas Reveal the Disruption of a Star by a Massive Black Hole. Nature, 526. DOI: 10.1038/nature15708 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/5151
dc.description.abstract Tidal forces close to massive black holes can violently disrupt stars that make a close approach. These extreme events are discovered via bright X-ray1,2,3,4 and optical/ultraviolet5,6 flares in galactic centres. Prior studies based on modelling decaying flux trends have been able to estimate broad properties, such as the mass accretion rate6,7. Here we report the detection of flows of hot, ionized gas in high-resolution X-ray spectra of a nearby tidal disruption event, ASASSN-14li in the galaxy PGC 043234. Variability within the absorption-dominated spectra indicates that the gas is relatively close to the black hole. Narrow linewidths indicate that the gas does not stretch over a large range of radii, giving a low volume filling factor. Modest outflow speeds of a few hundred kilometres per second are observed; these are below the escape speed from the radius set by variability. The gas flow is consistent with a rotating wind from the inner, super-Eddington region of a nascent accretion disk, or with a filament of disrupted stellar gas near to the apocentre of an elliptical orbit. Flows of this sort are predicted by fundamental analytical theory8 and more recent numerical simulations7,9,10,11,12,13,14. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en_US
dc.subject High-energy astrophysics en_US
dc.title Flows of X-ray Gas Reveal the Disruption of a Star by a Massive Black Hole en_US
dc.type text en_US


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