The Arp299B-AT1 puzzle: First resolved imaging of a tidal disruption event

Tidal disruption events (TDEs) are transient flares produced when a star is ripped apart by the gravitational field of a supermassive black hole (SMBH). While indirect evidence has pointed out that some candidates to being TDEs may have formed a relativistic jet, no direct imaging has confirmed this hypothesis. I will present the discovery of an energetic nuclear transient in the central regions of the nearby galaxy merger Arp299B, and which we recently published in Science (Mattila, Pérez-Torres et al. 2018). The transient radiated at least 1.5E+52 erg in the infrared but remained elusive at optical and X-ray wavelengths. We interpret its properties to arise from the tidal disruption of a massive (2-6 solar masses) star that passed close to the supermassive black hole. Very-long-baseline interferometry monitoring over a decade shows unambiguous evidence for an evolving jet-like morphology. This is the first case of a confirmed resolved radio jet in a TDE ever, thus validating theoretical predictions. I will also discuss the implications of our results in the context of theoretical and observed rates of TDEs, as well as the possible impact of this result in terms of radiative feedback.

25/10/2018 - 12:30
Dr. Miguel Angel Pérez-Torres