Dust-enshrouded star near supermassive black hole: predictions for high-eccentricity passages near low-luminosity galactic nuclei
1 Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences, Boční II 1401, 14100 Prague, Czech Republic
2 Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, V Holešovičkách 2, 18000 Prague, Czech Republic
3 I. Physikalisches Institut der Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Strasse 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR), Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Received: 19 September 2013
Accepted: 18 March 2014
Context. Supermassive black holes reside in cores of galaxies, where they are often surrounded by a nuclear cluster and a clumpy torus of gas and dust. Mutual interactions can set some stars on a plunging trajectory towards the black hole.
Aims. We model the pericentre passage of a dust-enshrouded star during which the dusty envelope becomes stretched by tidal forces and is affected by the interaction with the surrounding medium. In particular, we explore under which conditions these encounters can lead to periods of enhanced accretion activity.
Methods. We discuss different scenarios for such a dusty source. To this end, we employed a modification of the Swift integration package. Elements of the cloud were modelled as numerical particles that represent the dust component that interacts with the optically thin gaseous environment.
Results. We determine the fraction of the total mass of the dust component that is diverted from the original path during the passages through the pericentre at ≃103 Schwarzschild radii and find that the main part of the dust (≳90% of its mass) is significantly affected upon the first crossing. The fraction of mass captured at the second passage generally decreases to very low values.
Conclusions. As an example, we show predictions for the dusty source evolution assuming the current orbital parameters of the G2 cloud (also known as Dusty S-Cluster Object, DSO) in our Galactic centre. Encounter of a core-less cloud with a supermassive black hole is, most likely, a non-repeating event: the cloud is destroyed. However, in the case of a dust-enshrouded star, part of the envelope survives the pericentre passage. We discuss an offset of ≲0.3 arcsec between the centre of mass of the diverted part and the star along the eccentric orbit. Finally, we examine an interesting possibility of a binary star embedded within a common wind envelope that becomes dispersed at the pericentre passage.
Key words: black hole physics / Galaxy: center / galaxies: individual: Sgr A*
© ESO, 2014