Shock breakouts from tidal disruption events

A. Yalinewich, J. Guillochon, R. Sari, A. Loeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Tidal disruption events of stars by supermassive black holes have so far been discovered months to years after the fact. In this paper, we explore the short, faint, and hard burst of radiation that is emitted at maximum compression as a result of shock breakout. The detection of this burst can be used to capture tidal disruption events in real time. We verify that shock breakout from main-sequence stars produces radiation in the X-ray range, but find that it is difficult to detect using all sky X-ray surveying telescopes. In the case of shock breakout from red giants, most of the radiation is emitted in the UV and visible range, which is significantly easier to detect. A similar burst of UV/optical radiation will also be emitted by stars puffed by tidal heating from a previous passage close to the central black hole. This radiation can be detected by surveys like ZTF and LSST. We calculate detection rates for different types of galactic nuclei. For the case of a very full or very empty loss cones, we predict a detection rate of once per year with LSST. Evidence from a recent tidal disruption event, ASASSN-14li, seems to favour a very full loss cone, in which case LSST is expected to detect one such event every year.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2872-2877
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


  • Galaxy:centre
  • Radiation mechanisms: non thermal
  • Shock waves
  • X-rays:bursts


Dive into the research topics of 'Shock breakouts from tidal disruption events'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this