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Title: The Curious Case of ASASSN-20hx: A Slowly Evolving, UV- and X-Ray-Luminous, Ambiguous Nuclear Transient

We present observations of ASASSN-20hx, a nearby ambiguous nuclear transient (ANT) discovered in NGC 6297 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). We observed ASASSN-20hx from −30 to 275 days relative to the peak UV/optical emission using high-cadence, multiwavelength spectroscopy and photometry. From Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite data, we determine that the ANT began to brighten on 2020 June 22.8 with a linear rise in flux for at least the first week. ASASSN-20hx peaked in the UV/optical 30 days later on 2020 July 22.8 (MJD = 59052.8) at a bolometric luminosity ofL= (3.15 ± 0.04) × 1043erg s−1. The subsequent decline is slower than any TDE observed to date and consistent with many other ANTs. Compared to an archival X-ray detection, the X-ray luminosity of ASASSN-20hx increased by an order of magnitude toLx∼ 1.5 × 1042erg s−1and then slowly declined over time. The X-ray emission is well fit by a power law with a photon index of Γ ∼ 2.3–2.6. Both the optical and near-infrared spectra of ASASSN-20hx lack emission lines, unusual for any known class of nuclear transient. While ASASSN-20hx has some characteristics seen in both tidal disruption events and active galactic nuclei, it cannot be definitively more » classified with current data.

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The Astrophysical Journal
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Article No. 12
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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