A loud quasi-periodic oscillation after a star is disrupted by a massive black hole

Dheeraj R. Pasham*, Ronald A. Remillard, P. Chris Fragile, Alessia Franchini, Nicholas C. Stone, Giuseppe Lodato, Jeroen Homan, Deepto Chakrabarty, Frederick K. Baganoff, James F. Steiner, Eric R. Coughlin, Nishanth R. Pasham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tidal forces close to massive black holes can rip apart stars that come too close to them. As the resulting stellar debris spirals toward the black hole, the debris heats up and emits x-rays. We report observations of a stable 131-second x-ray quasi-periodic oscillation from the tidal disruption event ASASSN-14li. Assuming the black hole mass indicated by host galaxy scaling relations, these observations imply that the periodicity originates from close to the event horizon and that the black hole is rapidly spinning. Our findings demonstrate that tidal disruption events can generate quasi-periodic oscillations that encode information about the physical properties of their black holes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)531-534
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume363
Issue number6426
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

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