A Census of Archival X-Ray Spectra for Modeling Tidal Disruption Events

Aaron Goldtooth*, Ann I. Zabludoff, Sixiang Wen, Peter G. Jonker, Nicholas C. Stone, Zheng Cao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Tidal disruption events (TDEs) are highly energetic phenomena that occur when a star is tidally disrupted by the central massive black hole in a galaxy. Fitting the observed X-ray spectra of TDEs with a first-principles, general-relativistic slim-disk model for the emission from the inner accretion disk can constrain the black hole mass M and dimensionless spin a . Multiepoch spectra can break degeneracies in parameter estimation, particularly when they include a period of super-Eddington mass accretion. Even one observed super-Eddington epoch can be useful. Constraints on {M , a } improve as a power law with the number of spectral counts; the power-law index is higher for a higher mass accretion rate. These results are supported by the successful modeling of real spectra in the nearby (0.0206 ≤ z ≤ 0.145) TDEs ASASSN-14li, 3XMM J150052.0+015452, and 3XMM J215022.4-055108, which were observed over multiple epochs with >1 ks exposure times. Guided by these results, we create an updated and expanded TDE catalog from the Open TDE compilation. We then explore the XMM-Newton and Chandra archives to identify 37 TDE candidates with promising spectra for constraining {M , a } with slim-disk model fits. At least seven TDEs are likely associated with intermediate-mass black holes. Three of the 24 TDEs with multiepoch UV/optical photometry from Swift have late-time observations that allow their light curves to be compared directly to model predictions from the X-ray spectral fits. Existing X-ray spectra for other TDEs can be augmented with future optical/UV data. Ultimately, our new TDE catalog will reveal the {M , a } distributions traced by TDEs, thereby discriminating among black hole growth scenarios and providing insights on general relativity and dark matter particle candidates. The new TDE catalog is here: https://github.com/aarongoldtooth/Census-of-TDE-and-Archival-X-Ray-UV-Data/blob/main/Full%20New%20TDE%20Catalog%20(Published).tsv, and the codes used to construct it are here: https://github.com/aarongoldtooth/Census-of-TDE-and-Archival-X-Ray-UV-Data.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number034101
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number1045
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd on behalf of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). All rights reserved.


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