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  1. Abstract

    Close encounters between stellar-mass black holes (BHs) and stars occur frequently in dense star clusters and in the disks of active galactic nuclei. Recent studies have shown that in highly eccentric close encounters, the star can be tidally disrupted by the BH in a microtidal disruption event (microTDE), resulting in rapid mass accretion and possibly bright electromagnetic signatures. Here we consider a scenario in which the star might approach the stellar-mass BH in a gradual, nearly circular inspiral, under the influence of dynamical friction in a circum-binary gas disk or three-body interactions in a star cluster. We perform hydrodynamics simulations of this scenario using the smoothed particle hydrodynamics codePHANTOM. We find that under certain circumstances (for initial eccentricitye0≳ 0.4 and penetration factorβ= 1, ore0< 0.4 andβ≲ 0.67), the mass of the star is slowly stripped away by the BH. We call this gradual tidal disruption a “tidal-peeling event.” Additionally, we discover that some low-eccentricity microTDEs (e0< 0.4 andβ= 1) are a new form of fast luminous transients similar to parabolic microTDEs. Depending on the initial distance and eccentricity of the encounter, these low-eccentricity microTDEs might exhibit significant accretion rates and orbital evolution distinct from those of a typical (eccentric) microTDE.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    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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  3. ABSTRACT

    Multibody dynamical interactions of binaries with other objects are one of the main driving mechanisms for the evolution of star clusters. It is thus important to bring our understanding of three-body interactions beyond the commonly employed point-particle approximation. To this end, we here investigate the hydrodynamics of three-body encounters between star–black hole (BH) binaries and single stars, focusing on the identification of final outcomes and their long-term evolution and observational properties, using the moving-mesh hydrodynamics code AREPO. This type of encounter produces five types of outcomes: stellar disruption, stellar collision, weak perturbation of the original binary, binary member exchange, and triple formation. The two decisive parameters are the binary phase angle, which determines which two objects meet at the first closest approach, and the impact parameter, which sets the boundary between violent and non-violent interactions. When the impact parameter is smaller than the semimajor axis of the binary, tidal disruptions and star-BH collisions frequently occur when the BH and the incoming star first meet, while the two stars mostly merge when the two stars meet first instead. In both cases, the BHs accrete from an accretion disc at super-Eddington rates, possibly generating flares luminous enough to be observed. The stellar collision products either form a binary with the BH or remain unbound to the BH. Upon collision, the merged stars are hotter and larger than the main sequence stars of the same mass at similar age. Even after recovering their thermal equilibrium state, stellar collision products, if isolated, would remain hotter and brighter than main sequence stars until becoming giants.

     
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  4. Abstract Extreme tidal disruption events (eTDEs), which occur when a star passes very close to a supermassive black hole, may provide a way to observe a long-sought general relativistic effect: orbits that wind several times around a black hole and then leave. Through general relativistic hydrodynamics simulations, we show that such eTDEs are easily distinguished from most tidal disruptions, in which stars come close, but not so close, to the black hole. Following the stellar orbit, the debris is initially distributed in a crescent, it then turns into a set of tight spirals circling the black hole, which merge into a shell expanding radially outwards. Some mass later falls back toward the black hole, while the remainder is ejected. Internal shocks within the infalling debris power the observed emission. The resulting lightcurve rises rapidly to roughly the Eddington luminosity, maintains this level for between a few weeks and a year (depending on both the stellar mass and the black hole mass), and then drops. Most of its power is in thermal X-rays at a temperature ∼(1–2) × 10 6 K (∼100–200 eV). The debris evolution and observational features of eTDEs are qualitatively different from ordinary TDEs, making eTDEs a new type of TDE. Although eTDEs are relatively rare for lower-mass black holes, most tidal disruptions around higher-mass black holes are extreme. Their detection offers a view of an exotic relativistic phenomenon previously inaccessible. 
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  5. ABSTRACT

    Dynamical interactions involving binaries play a crucial role in the evolution of star clusters and galaxies. We continue our investigation of the hydrodynamics of three-body encounters, focusing on binary black hole (BBH) formation, stellar disruption, and electromagnetic (EM) emission in dynamical interactions between a BH-star binary and a stellar-mass BH, using the moving-mesh hydrodynamics code AREPO. This type of encounters can be divided into two classes depending on whether the final outcome includes BBHs. This outcome is primarily determined by which two objects meet at the first closest approach. BBHs are more likely to form when the star and the incoming BH encounter first with an impact parameter smaller than the binary’s semimajor axis. In this case, the star is frequently disrupted. On the other hand, when the two BHs encounter first, frequent consequences are an orbit perturbation of the original binary or a binary member exchange. For the parameters chosen in this study, BBH formation, accompanied by stellar disruption, happens in roughly one out of four encounters. The close correlation between BBH formation and stellar disruption has possible implications for EM counterparts at the binary’s merger. The BH that disrupts the star is promptly surrounded by an optically and geometrically thick disc with accretion rates exceeding the Eddington limit. If the debris disc cools fast enough to become long-lived, EM counterparts can be produced at the time of the BBH merger.

     
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  6. ABSTRACT

    Many astrophysical environments, from star clusters and globular clusters to the discs of active galactic nuclei, are characterized by frequent interactions between stars and the compact objects that they leave behind. Here, using a suite of 3D hydrodynamics simulations, we explore the outcome of close interactions between $1\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ stars and binary black holes (BBHs) in the gravitational wave regime, resulting in a tidal disruption event (TDE) or a pure scattering, focusing on the accretion rates, the back reaction on the BH binary orbital parameters, and the increase in the binary BH effective spin. We find that TDEs can make a significant impact on the binary orbit, which is often different from that of a pure scattering. Binaries experiencing a prograde (retrograde) TDE tend to be widened (hardened) by up to $\simeq 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. Initially circular binaries become more eccentric by $\lesssim 10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ by a prograde or retrograde TDE, whereas the eccentricity of initially eccentric binaries increases (decreases) by a retrograde (prograde) TDE by $\lesssim 5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. Overall, a single TDE can generally result in changes of the gravitational-wave-driven merger time-scale by order unity. The accretion rates of both black holes are very highly super-Eddington, showing modulations (preferentially for retrograde TDEs) on a time-scale of the orbital period, which can be a characteristic feature of BBH-driven TDEs. Prograde TDEs result in the effective spin parameter χ to vary by ≲0.02, while χ ≳ −0.005 for retrograde TDEs.

     
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  7. ABSTRACT

    Strong dynamical interactions among stars and compact objects are expected in a variety of astrophysical settings, such as star clusters and the disks of active galactic nuclei. Via a suite of three-dimensional hydrodynamics simulations using the moving-mesh code arepo, we investigate the formation of transient phenomena and their properties in close encounters between an $2\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ or $20\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ equal-mass circular binary star and single $20\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ black hole (BH). Stars can be disrupted by the BH during dynamical interactions, naturally producing electromagnetic transient phenomena. Encounters with impact parameters smaller than the semimajor axis of the initial binary frequently lead to a variety of transients whose electromagnetic signatures are qualitatively different from those of ordinary disruption events involving just two bodies. These include the simultaneous or successive disruptions of both stars and one full disruption of one star accompanied by successive partial disruptions of the other star. On the contrary, when the impact parameter is larger than the semimajor axis of the initial binary, the binary is either simply tidally perturbed or dissociated into bound and unbound single stars (‘micro-Hills’ mechanism). The dissociation of $20\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ binaries can produce a runaway star and an active BH moving away from one another. Also, the binary dissociation can either produce an interacting binary with the BH, or a non-interacting, hard binary; both could be candidates of BH high- and low-mass X-ray binaries. Hence, our simulations especially confirm that strong encounters can lead to the formation of the (generally difficult to form) BH low-mass X-ray binaries.

     
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