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Journal Article

Disruption of a Red Giant Star by a Supermassive Black Hole and the Case of PS1-10jh


Amaro-Seoane,  Pau
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Bogdanovic, T., Cheng, R. M., & Amaro-Seoane, P. (2014). Disruption of a Red Giant Star by a Supermassive Black Hole and the Case of PS1-10jh. Astrophysical Journal, 788(2): 99. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/788/2/99.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-001A-0D91-7
The development of a new generation of theoretical models for tidal disruptions is timely, as increasingly diverse events are being captured in surveys of the transient sky. Recently, Gezari et al. reported a discovery of a new class of tidal disruption events: the disruption of a helium-rich stellar core, thought to be a remnant of a red giant (RG) star. Motivated by this discovery and in anticipation of others, we consider tidal interaction of an RG star with a supermassive black hole (SMBH) which leads to the stripping of the stellar envelope and subsequent inspiral of the compact core toward the black hole. Once the stellar envelope is removed the inspiral of the core is driven by tidal heating as well as the emission of gravitational radiation until the core either falls into the SMBH or is tidally disrupted. In the case of tidal disruption candidate PS1-10jh we find that there is a set of orbital solutions at high eccentricities in which the tidally stripped hydrogen envelope is accreted by the SMBH before the helium core is disrupted. This places the RG core in a portion of parameter space where strong tidal heating can lift the degeneracy of the compact remnant and disrupt it before it reaches the tidal radius. We consider how this sequence of events explains the puzzling absence of the hydrogen emission lines from the spectrum of PS1-10jh and gives rise to its other observational features.