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Title: In-plane tidal disruption of stars in discs of active galactic nuclei

Stars embedded in active galactic nucleus (AGN) discs or captured by them may scatter onto the supermassive black hole (SMBH), leading to a tidal disruption event (TDE). Using the moving-mesh hydrodynamics simulations with arepo, we investigate the dependence of debris properties in in-plane TDEs in AGN discs on the disc density and the orientation of stellar orbits relative to the disc gas (pro- and retro-grade). Key findings are: (1) Debris experiences continuous perturbations from the disc gas, which can result in significant and continuous changes in debris energy and angular momentum compared to ‘naked’ TDEs. (2) Above a critical density of a disc around an SMBH with mass M• [ρcrit ∼ 10−8 g cm−3 (M•/106 M⊙)−2.5] for retrograde stars, both bound and unbound debris is fully mixed into the disc. The density threshold for no bound debris return, inhibiting the accretion component of TDEs, is $\rho _{\rm crit,bound} \sim 10^{-9}{\rm g~cm^{-3}}(M_{\bullet }/10^{6}\, {\rm M}_{\odot })^{-2.5}$. (3) Observationally, AGN-TDEs transition from resembling naked TDEs in the limit of ρdisc ≲ 10−2ρcrit,bound to fully muffled TDEs with associated inner disc state changes at ρdisc ≳ ρcrit,bound, with a superposition of AGN + TDE in between. Stellar or remnant passages themselves can significantly perturb the inner disc. This can lead to an immediate X-ray signature and optically detectable inner disc state changes, potentially contributing to the changing-look AGN phenomenon. (4) Debris mixing can enrich the average disc metallicity over time if the star’s metallicity exceeds that of the disc gas. We point out that signatures of AGN-TDEs may be found in large AGN surveys.

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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Medium: X Size: p. 8103-8117
p. 8103-8117
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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