Tidal disruption flares of stars from moderately recoiled black holes

Nicholas Stone*, Abraham Loeb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We analyse stellar tidal disruption events as a possible observational signature of gravitational wave induced recoil of supermassive black holes. As a black hole wanders through its galaxy, it will tidally disrupt bound and unbound stars at rates potentially observable by upcoming optical transient surveys. To quantify these rates, we explore a broad range of host galaxy and black hole kick parameters. We find that emission from a transient accretion disc can produce ~1 event per year which the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope would identify as spatially offset, while super-Eddington outflows, if they exist, are likely to produce ~10 spatially offset events per year. A majority of tidal disruption flares, and a large majority of flares with an observable spatial offset, are due to bound rather than unbound stars. The total number of disruption events due to recoiled black holes could be almost 1 per cent of the total stellar tidal disruption rate.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1933-1947
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Gravitational waves


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