Are Delayed Radio Flares Common in Tidal Disruption Events? The Case of the TDE iPTF 16fnl

Assaf Horesh*, Itai Sfaradi, Rob Fender, David A. Green, David R.A. Williams, Joe S. Bright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Radio emission from tidal disruption events (TDEs) originates from an interaction of an outflow with the super-massive black hole (SMBH) circumnuclear material (CNM). In turn, this radio emission can be used to probe properties of both the outflow launched at the event and the CNM. Until recently, radio emission was detected only for a relatively small number of events. While the observed radio emission pointed to either relativistic or sub-relativistic outflows of different nature, it also indicated that the outflow has been launched shortly after stellar disruption. Recently, however, delayed radio flares, several months and years after stellar disruption, were reported in the case of the TDE ASASSN-15oi. These delayed flares suggest a delay in the launching of outflows and thus may provide new insights into SMBH accretion physics. Here, we present a new radio data set of another TDE, iPTF 16fnl, and discuss the possibility that a delayed radio flare also has been observed in this case, ~5 months after optical discovery, suggesting that this phenomenon may be common in TDEs. Unlike ASASSN-15oi, the data for iPTF 16fnl is sparse and the delayed radio flare can be explained by several alternative models: among them are a complex varying CNM density structure and a delayed outflow ejection.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberL5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2021

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