A radio jet from the optical and x-ray bright stellar tidal disruption flare ASASSN-14li

S. Van Velzen*, G. E. Anderson, N. C. Stone, M. Fraser, T. Wevers, B. D. Metzger, P. G. Jonker, A. J. Van Der Horst, T. D. Staley, A. J. Mendez, J. C.A. Miller-Jones, S. T. Hodgkin, H. C. Campbell, R. P. Fender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tidal disruption of a star by a supermassive black hole leads to a short-lived thermal flare. Despite extensive searches, radio follow-up observations of known thermal stellar tidal disruption flares (TDFs) have not yet produced a conclusive detection.We present a detection of variable radio emission from a thermal TDF, which we interpret as originating from a newly launched jet. The multiwavelength properties of the source present a natural analogy with accretion-state changes of stellar mass black holes, which suggests that all TDFs could be accompanied by a jet. In the rest frame of the TDF, our radio observations are an order of magnitude more sensitive than nearly all previous upper limits, explaining how these jets, if common, could thus far have escaped detection.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)62-65
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume351
Issue number6268
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the ASAS-SN team for making their newly identified optical transient public. We thank J. Krolik for useful discussions. We thank the staff of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory for their invaluable assistance in the operation of AMI. We thank the WSRT director for granting the observations in Director''s Discretionary Time and the WSRT staff for obtaining these observations. The WSRT is operated by ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) with support from the Netherlands foundation for Scientific Research. S.v.V. is supported by NASA through a Hubble Fellowship (HST-HF2-51350.001). G.E.A., T.D.S., and R.P.F. acknowledge support from the European Research Council via Advanced Investigator Grant 267697. G.E.A. also acknowledges the support of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), a Joint Venture of Curtin University and The University of Western Australia, funded by the Western Australian State government. M.F. and H.C.C. acknowledge support from the European Union FP7 program through European Research Council grant 320360. B.D.M. and N.C.S. acknowledge support from NASA grant NNX14AQ68G, NSF grant AST-1410950, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. N.C.S. is also supported by NASA through an Einstein Fellowship. J.C.A.M.-J. is supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT140101082). The data presented here can be found in the supplementary materials; raw optical/UV/x-ray observations are available in the NASA/Swift archive (http://heasarc.nasa.gov/docs/ swift/archive, Target Name: BRUTUS6984_2); raw radio observations (WSRT and AMI) are maintained by the observatories and available upon request.

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