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Monthly quasi-periodic eruptions from repeated stellar disruption by a massive black hole

Evans, PA; Nixon, CJ; Campana, S; Charalampopoulos, P; Perley, DA; Breeveld, AA; Page, KL; ... Sbarufatti, B; + view all (2023) Monthly quasi-periodic eruptions from repeated stellar disruption by a massive black hole. Nature Astronomy 10.1038/s41550-023-02073-y. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In recent years, searches of archival X-ray data have revealed galaxies exhibiting nuclear quasi-periodic eruptions with periods of several hours. These are reminiscent of the tidal disruption of a star by a supermassive black hole. The repeated, partial stripping of a white dwarf in an eccentric orbit around an ~105 M⊙ black hole provides an attractive model. A separate class of periodic nuclear transients, with much longer timescales, have recently been discovered optically and may arise from the partial stripping of a main-sequence star by an ~107 M⊙ black hole. No clear connection between these classes has been made. We present the discovery of an X-ray nuclear transient that shows quasi-periodic outbursts with a period of weeks. We discuss possible origins for the emission and propose that this system bridges the two existing classes outlined above. This discovery was made possible by the rapid identification, dissemination and follow-up of an X-ray transient found by the new live Swift-XRT transient detector, demonstrating the importance of low-latency, sensitive searches for X-ray transients.

Type: Article
Title: Monthly quasi-periodic eruptions from repeated stellar disruption by a massive black hole
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-023-02073-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-023-02073-y
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 Springer Nature Limited. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176502
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