Relativistic tidal disruption events
Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK
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In March 2011 Swift detected an extremely luminous and long-lived outburst from the nucleus of an otherwise quiescent, low luminosity (LMC-like) galaxy. Named Swift J1644+57, its combination of high-energy luminosity (1048 ergs s−1 at peak), rapid X-ray variability (factors of >100 on timescales of 100 seconds) and luminous, rising radio emission suggested that we were witnessing the birth of a moderately relativistic jet (Γ ∼ 2 − 5), created when a star is tidally disrupted by the supermassive black hole in the centre of the galaxy. A second event, Swift J2058+0516, detected two months later, with broadly similar properties lends further weight to this interpretation. Taken together this suggests that a fraction of tidal disruption events do indeed create relativistic outflows, demonstrates their detectability, and also implies that low mass galaxies can host massive black holes. Here, I briefly outline the observational properties of these relativistic tidal flares observed last year, and their evolution over the first year since their discovery.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012
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