Journal Article

Prompt tidal disruption of stars as an electromagnetic signature of supermassive black hole coalescence

Nicholas Stone and Abraham Loeb

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 1, pages 75-80
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17880.x
Prompt tidal disruption of stars as an electromagnetic signature of supermassive black hole coalescence

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

A precise electromagnetic measurement of the sky coordinates and redshift of a coalescing black hole binary holds the key for using its gravitational wave (GW) signal to constrain cosmological parameters and to test general relativity. Here we show that the merger of ∼ 106−7 M black holes is generically followed by electromagnetic flares from tidally disrupted stars. The sudden recoil imparted to the merged black hole by GW emission promptly fills its loss cone and results in a tidal disruption rate of stars as high as ∼ 0.1 yr−1. The prompt disruption of a single star within a galaxy provides a unique electromagnetic flag of a recent black hole coalescence event, and sequential disruptions could be used on their own to calibrate the expected rate of GW sources for pulsar timing arrays or the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

Keywords: black hole physics; gravitational waves; galaxies: nuclei

Journal Article.  4568 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.