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  1. Abstract

    Tidal disruption events (TDEs) provide a unique opportunity to probe the stellar populations around supermassive black holes (SMBHs). By combining light-curve modeling with spectral line information and knowledge about the stellar populations in the host galaxies, we are able to constrain the properties of the disrupted star for three TDEs. The TDEs in our sample have UV spectra, and measurements of the UV Niiito Ciiiline ratios enabled estimates of the nitrogen-to-carbon abundance ratios for these events. We show that the measured nitrogen line widths are consistent with originating from the disrupted stellar material dispersed by the central SMBH. We find that these nitrogen-to-carbon abundance ratios necessitate the disruption of moderately massive stars (≳1–2M). We determine that these moderately massive disruptions are overrepresented by a factor of ≳102when compared to the overall stellar population of the post-starburst galaxy hosts. This implies that SMBHs are preferentially disrupting higher mass stars, possibly due to ongoing top-heavy star formation in nuclear star clusters or to dynamical mechanisms that preferentially transport higher mass stars to their tidal radii.


    When a star passes close to a supermassive black hole (BH), the BH’s tidal forces rip it apart into a thin stream, leading to a tidal disruption event (TDE). In this work, we study the post-disruption phase of TDEs in general relativistic hydrodynamics (GRHD) using our GPU-accelerated code h-amr. We carry out the first grid-based simulation of a deep-penetration TDE (β = 7) with realistic system parameters: a black hole-to-star mass ratio of 106, a parabolic stellar trajectory, and a non-zero BH spin. We also carry out a simulation of a tilted TDE whose stellar orbit is inclined relative to the BH midplane. We show that for our aligned TDE, an accretion disc forms due to the dissipation of orbital energy with ∼20 per cent of the infalling material reaching the BH. The dissipation is initially dominated by violent self-intersections and later by stream–disc interactions near the pericentre. The self-intersections completely disrupt the incoming stream, resulting in five distinct self-intersection events separated by approximately 12 h and a flaring in the accretion rate. We also find that the disc is eccentric with mean eccentricity e ≈ 0.88. For our tilted TDE, we find only partial self-intersections due to nodal precession near pericentre. Althoughmore »these partial intersections eject gas out of the orbital plane, an accretion disc still forms with a similar accreted fraction of the material to the aligned case. These results have important implications for disc formation in realistic tidal disruptions. For instance, the periodicity in accretion rate induced by the complete stream disruption may explain the flaring events from Swift J1644+57.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 5, 2023
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  6. null (Ed.)