Volume 639, July 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||16 July 2020|
Rapid late-time X-ray brightening of the tidal disruption event OGLE16aaa
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Departamento de Astrofísica, Camino Bajo del Castillo s/n, 28692 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
2 Telespazio-Vega UK for ESA, Operations Department; European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), Camino Bajo del Castillo s/n, 28692 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 11 June 2020
Stars that pass too close to a super-massive black hole may be disrupted by strong tidal forces. OGLE16aaa is one such tidal disruption event (TDE) which rapidly brightened and peaked in the optical/UV bands in early 2016 and subsequently decayed over the rest of the year. OGLE16aaa was detected in an XMM-Newton X-ray observation on June 9, 2016 with a flux slightly below the Swift/XRT upper limits obtained during the optical light curve peak. Between June 16–21, 2016, Swift/XRT also detected OGLE16aaa and based on the stacked spectrum, we could infer that the X-ray luminosity had jumped up by more than a factor of ten in just one week. No brightening signal was seen in the simultaneous optical/UV data to cause the X-ray luminosity to exceed the optical/UV one. A further XMM-Newton observation on November 30, 2016 showed that almost a year after the optical/UV peak, the X-ray emission was still at an elevated level, while the optical/UV flux decay had already leveled off to values comparable to those of the host galaxy. In all X-ray observations, the spectra were nicely modeled with a 50–70 eV thermal component with no intrinsic absorption, with a weak X-ray tail seen only in the November 30 XMM-Newton observation. The late-time X-ray behavior of OGLE16aaa strongly resembles the tidal disruption events ASASSN-15oi and AT2019azh. We were able to pinpoint the time delay between the initial optical TDE onset and the X-ray brightening to 182 ± 5 days, which may possibly represent the timescale between the initial circularization of the disrupted star around the super-massive black hole and the subsequent delayed accretion. Alternatively, the delayed X-ray brightening could be related to a rapid clearing of a thick envelope that covers the central X-ray engine during the first six months.
Key words: accretion / accretion disks / black hole physics / X-rays: galaxies / galaxies: individual: OGLE16aaa
© ESO 2020
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