Caltech–NRAO Stripe 82 Survey (CNSS). III. The First Radio-discovered Tidal Disruption Event, CNSS J0019+00

M. M. Anderson*, K. P. Mooley, G. Hallinan, D. Dong, E. S. Phinney, A. Horesh, S. Bourke, S. B. Cenko, D. Frail, S. R. Kulkarni, S. Myers

*Corresponding author for this work

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35 Scopus citations


We present the discovery of a nuclear transient with the Caltech–NRAO Stripe 82 Survey (CNSS), a dedicated radio transient survey carried out with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). This transient, CNSS J001947.3+003527, exhibited a turn-on over a timescale of ≲1 yr, increasing in flux density at 3 GHz from <0.14 mJy in 2014 February to 4.4 ± 0.1 mJy in 2015 March, reaching a peak luminosity of 5 ´ 1028 erg s-1 Hz-1 around 2015 October. The association of CNSS J0019+00 with the nucleus (Gaia and our very-long baseline interferometry positions are consistent to within 1 pc) of a nearby S0 Seyfert galaxy at 77 Mpc, together with the radio spectral evolution, implies that this transient is most likely a tidal disruption event (TDE). Our equipartition analysis indicates the presence of a ∼15,000 km s−1 outflow, having energy ∼1049 erg. We derive the radial density profile for the circumnuclear material in the host galaxy to be proportional to R−2.5. All of these properties suggest resemblance with radio-detected thermal TDEs like ASASSN-14li and XMMSL1 J0740-85. No significant X-ray or optical emission is detected from CNSS J0019+00, although this may simply be due to the thermal emission being weak during our late-time follow-up observations. From the CNSS survey we have obtained the first unbiased measurement of the rate of radio TDEs, R(>500μJy) of about 2 × 10−3 deg−2, or equivalently a volumetric rate of about 10 Gpc−3 yr−1. This rate implies that all-sky radio surveys such as the VLA Sky Survey and those planned with ASKAP, will find many tens of radio TDEs over the next few years.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number116
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

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  • Radio interferometry (1346)
  • Radio transient sources (2008)
  • Tidal disruption (1696)


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