Tidal disruption of a super-Jupiter by a massive black hole
Publication date: 03 April 2013
Authors: Nikolajuk, M., & Walter, R.
Journal: Astronomy and Astrophysics
Copyright: ESO, 2013
Aims. A strong, hard X-ray flare was discovered (IGR J12580+0134) by INTEGRAL in 2011, and is associated to NGC 4845, a Seyfert 2 galaxy never detected at high-energy previously. To understand what happened we observed this event in the X-ray band on several occasions.
Methods.Follow-up observations with XMM-Newton, Swift, and MAXI are presented together with the INTEGRAL data. Long and short term variability are analysed and the event wide band spectral shape modelled.
Results.The spectrum of the source can be described with an absorbed (NH ~ 7 × 1022 cm-2) power law (Gamma = 2.2), characteristic of an accreting source, plus a soft X-ray excess, likely to be of diffuse nature. The hard X-ray flux increased to maximum in a few weeks and decreased over a year, with the evolution expected for a tidal disruption event. The fast variations observed near the flare maximum allowed us to estimate the mass of the central black hole in NGC 4845 as ~3 × 105 solar masses. The observed flare corresponds to the disruption of about 10% of an object with a mass of 14-30 Jupiter. The hard X-ray emission should come from a corona forming around the accretion flow close to the black hole. This is the first tidal event where such a corona has been observed. Link to publication