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A Dark Year for Tidal Disruption Events

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 12:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • CASA Conference Room C324

Speaker Name(s): 

James Guillochon

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Harvard University
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

The disruption of a main-sequence star by a supermassive black hole results in the initial production of an extended debris stream that winds repeatedly around the black hole, producing a complex three-dimension​al figure. When this stream self-intersects​, accretion onto the black hole begins; this process slows down some flares and naturally leads to a "dark period" in which the flare is not observable for months to years. In my talk I'll discuss how this affects which flares are the most likely to be found by present-day surveys, and how they suggest a large fraction of TDEs, perhaps as large as 90%, are not identified. This implies that the true rate of tidal disruptions may be significantly higher than what is suggested by the number in the observed sample.