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A Possible Relativistic Jetted Outburst from a Massive Black Hole Fed by a Tidally Disrupted Star

Science  08 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6039, pp. 203-206
DOI: 10.1126/science.1207150

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Abstract

Gas accretion onto some massive black holes (MBHs) at the centers of galaxies actively powers luminous emission, but most MBHs are considered dormant. Occasionally, a star passing too near an MBH is torn apart by gravitational forces, leading to a bright tidal disruption flare (TDF). Although the high-energy transient Sw 1644+57 initially displayed none of the theoretically anticipated (nor previously observed) TDF characteristics, we show that observations suggest a sudden accretion event onto a central MBH of mass about 106 to 107 solar masses. There is evidence for a mildly relativistic outflow, jet collimation, and a spectrum characterized by synchrotron and inverse Compton processes; this leads to a natural analogy of Sw 1644+57 to a temporary smaller-scale blazar.

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