A tidal disruption event (TDE) occurs when a star is destroyed by a supermassive black hole. Broad-band radio spectral observations of TDEs trace the emission from any outflows or jets that are ejected from the vicinity of the supermassive black hole. However, radio detections of TDEs are rare, with <20 published to date, and only 11 with multi-epoch broad-band coverage. Here we present the radio detection of the TDE AT2020vwl and our subsequent radio monitoring campaign of the outflow that was produced, spanning 1.5 yr post-optical flare. We tracked the outflow evolution as it expanded between 1016 and 1017 cm from the supermassive black hole, deducing it was non-relativistic and launched quasi-simultaneously with the initial optical detection through modelling the evolving synchrotron spectra of the event. We deduce that the outflow is likely to have been launched by material ejected from stream-stream collisions (more likely), the unbound debris stream, or an accretion-induced wind or jet from the supermassive black hole (less likely). AT2020vwl joins a growing number of TDEs with well-characterized prompt radio emission, with future timely radio observations of TDEs required to fully understand the mechanism that produces this type of radio emission in TDEs.
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Abstract We present late-time radio/millimeter (as well as optical/UV and X-ray) detections of tidal disruption event (TDE) AT2018hyz, spanning 970–1300 d after optical discovery. In conjunction with earlier deeper limits, including those at ≈700 days, our observations reveal rapidly rising emission at 0.8–240 GHz, steeper than F ν ∝ t 5 relative to the time of optical discovery. Such a steep rise cannot be explained in any reasonable scenario of an outflow launched at the time of disruption (e.g., off-axis jet, sudden increase in the ambient density), and instead points to a delayed launch. Our multifrequency data allow us to directly determine the radius and energy of the radio-emitting outflow, and we find from our modeling that the outflow was launched ≈750 days after optical discovery. The outflow velocity is mildly relativistic, with β ≈ 0.25 and ≈0.6 for a spherical geometry and a 10° jet geometry, respectively, and the minimum kinetic energy is E K ≈ 5.8 × 10 49 and ≈6.3 × 10 49 erg, respectively. This is the first definitive evidence for the production of a delayed mildly relativistic outflow in a TDE; a comparison to the recently published radio light curve of ASASSN-15oi suggests that the final rebrightening observed in that event (at a single frequency and time) may be due to a similar outflow with a comparable velocity and energy. Finally, we note that the energy and velocity of the delayed outflow in AT2018hyz are intermediate between those of past nonrelativistic TDEs (e.g., ASASSN-14li, AT2019dsg) and the relativistic TDE Sw J1644+57. We suggest that such delayed outflows may be common in TDEs.more » « less
We present extensive multifrequency Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) observations of the radio-bright supernova (SN) IIb SN 2004C that span ∼40–2793 days post-explosion. We interpret the temporal evolution of the radio spectral energy distribution in the context of synchrotron self-absorbed emission from the explosion’s forward shock as it expands in the circumstellar medium (CSM) previously sculpted by the mass-loss history of the stellar progenitor. VLBA observations and modeling of the VLA data point to a blastwave with average velocity ∼0.06
cthat carries an energy of ≈1049erg. Our modeling further reveals a flat CSM density profile ρCSM∝ R−0.03±0.22up to a break radius Rbr≈ (1.96 ± 0.10) × 1016cm, with a steep density gradient following ρCSM∝ R−2.3±0.5at larger radii. We infer that the flat part of the density profile corresponds to a CSM shell with mass ∼0.021 M☉, and that the progenitor’s effective mass-loss rate varied with time over the range (50–500) × 10−5 M☉yr−1for an adopted wind velocity v w= 1000 km s−1and shock microphysical parameters ϵ e= 0.1, ϵ B= 0.01. These results add to the mounting observational evidence for departures from the traditional single-wind mass-loss scenarios in evolved, massive stars in the centuries leading up to core collapse. Potentially viable scenarios include mass loss powered by gravity waves and/or interaction with a binary companion.
Abstract GW190814 was a compact object binary coalescence detected in gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo that garnered exceptional community interest due to its excellent localization and the uncertain nature of the binary’s lighter-mass component (either the heaviest known neutron star, or the lightest known black hole). Despite extensive follow-up observations, no electromagnetic counterpart has been identified. Here, we present new radio observations of 75 galaxies within the localization volume at Δ t ≈ 35–266 days post-merger. Our observations cover ∼32% of the total stellar luminosity in the final localization volume and extend to later timescales than previously reported searches, allowing us to place the deepest constraints to date on the existence of a radio afterglow from a highly off-axis relativistic jet launched during the merger (assuming that the merger occurred within the observed area). For a viewing angle of ∼46° (the best-fit binary inclination derived from the gravitational wave signal) and assumed electron and magnetic field energy fractions of ϵ e = 0.1 and ϵ B = 0.01, we can rule out a typical short gamma-ray burst-like Gaussian jet with an opening angle of 15° and isotropic-equivalent kinetic energy 2 × 10 51 erg propagating into a constant-density medium n ≳ 0.1 cm −3 . These are the first limits resulting from a galaxy-targeted search for a radio counterpart to a gravitational wave event, and we discuss the challenges—and possible advantages—of applying similar search strategies to future events using current and upcoming radio facilities.more » « less
Massive black holes (BHs) at the centres of massive galaxies are ubiquitous. The population of BHs within dwarf galaxies, on the other hand, is evasive. Dwarf galaxies are thought to harbour BHs with proportionally small masses, including intermediate mass BHs, with masses 102
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For the first ∼3 yrs after the binary neutron star merger event GW 170817, the radio and X-ray radiation has been dominated by emission from a structured relativistic off-axis jet propagating into a low-density medium with
n< 0.01 cm−3. We report on observational evidence for an excess of X-ray emission at δt> 900 days after the merger. With L x≈ 5 × 1038erg s−1at 1234 days, the recently detected X-ray emission represents a ≥3.2 σ(Gaussian equivalent) deviation from the universal post-jet-break model that best fits the multiwavelength afterglow at earlier times. In the context of JetFitafterglow models, current data represent a departure with statistical significance ≥3.1 σ, depending on the fireball collimation, with the most realistic models showing excesses at the level of ≥3.7 σ. A lack of detectable 3 GHz radio emission suggests a harder broadband spectrum than the jet afterglow. These properties are consistent with the emergence of a new emission component such as synchrotron radiation from a mildly relativistic shock generated by the expanding merger ejecta, i.e., a kilonova afterglow. In this context, we present a set of ab initio numerical relativity binary neutron star (BNS) merger simulations that show that an X-ray excess supports the presence of a high-velocity tail in the merger ejecta, and argues against the prompt collapse of the merger remnant into a black hole. Radiation from accretion processes on the compact-object remnant represents a viable alternative. Neither a kilonova afterglow nor accretion-powered emission have been observed before, as detections of BNS mergers at this phase of evolution are unprecedented.