May 20, 2024

Astronomers Catch a Black Hole Destroying a Nearby Star – Launching Powerful Relativistic Beams of Matter

A star is being taken in by a close-by supermassive black hole. Astronomers call this a tidal disruption event (TDE). What makes this TDE a really uncommon TDE is that as the great void rips apart the star, two jets of product moving with practically the speed of light are launched in opposite directions producing light in all wavelengths. Such jetted-TDEs are extremely unusual and AT2022cmc, illustrated here is the first one found with an optical telescope. Credit: Carl Knox– OzGrav, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, Swinburne University of Technology
Zwicky Transient Facility Makes First Discovery of a Rare Cosmic “Lunch”.
Astronomers captured a black hole munching on a neighboring star and releasing jets at the same time even more in the universe than ever previously.
Stars clash or die with each black and other holes devour everything that gets too close. These and other occasions produce flashes of light in the night sky that astronomers call transients.
” Our brand-new search technique assists us to quickly recognize rare cosmic events in the ZTF study data. And because ZTF and upcoming larger studies such as Vera Rubins LSST scan the sky so frequently, we can now expect to uncover a wealth of rare, or previously undiscovered cosmic occasions and study them in detail,” says Igor Andreoni, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Astronomy at University of Maryland (UMD) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center..

What makes this TDE a really rare TDE is that as the black hole rips apart the star, two jets of material moving with nearly the speed of light are launched in opposite instructions producing light in all wavelengths. TDEs happen with a star approaching a black hole is violently ripped apart by the black holes gravitational tidal forces– similar to how the Moon pulls tides on Earth however with higher strength. In some very rare cases such as AT2022cmc, the supermassive black hole launches “relativistic jets”– beams of matter traveling close to the speed of light– after ruining a star. From their observations, Andreoni and his group concluded that the black holes in AT2022cmc and other similarly jetted TDEs are most likely spinning rapidly so as to power the extremely luminous jets. Scientists can utilize AT2022cmc as a model for what to look for and discover more disruptive events from remote black holes.

The jetted tidal disription event AT2022cmc was very first observed in the ZTF optical information and was followed by 21 other astronomical centers that saw it shine in X-ray, UV, infrared and radio. Credit: Zwicky Transient Facility/R. Hurt (Caltech/IPAC).
AT2022cmc is a peculiar case of what is referred to as a tidal-disruption event or TDE. TDEs occur with a star approaching a great void is violently ripped apart by the great voids gravitational tidal forces– similar to how the Moon pulls tides in the world however with greater strength. Pieces of the star are caught into a swiftly spinning disk orbiting the black hole. The black hole consumes what remains of the doomed star in the disk..
In some very unusual cases such as AT2022cmc, the supermassive great void launches “relativistic jets”– beams of matter traveling close to the speed of light– after damaging a star. Found in February 2022, astronomers led by Andreoni followed up AT2022cmc and observed it with numerous facilities at multiple wavelengths. The analysis is now released in the journal Nature..
Artists impression of the jetted tidal disturbance event AT2022cmc. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.
” The last time scientists discovered one of these jets was well over a years ago,” said Michael Coughlin, an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and co-lead on the paper. “From the data we have, we can estimate that relativistic jets are introduced in just 1% of these harmful occasions, making AT2022cmc an exceptionally uncommon event. In fact, the luminous flash from the event is amongst the brightest ever observed.”.
The novel data-crunching technique– equivalent to exploring a million pages of details every night– enabled Andreoni and associates to conduct a quick analysis of the ZTF information and identify the AT2022cmc TDE with relativistic jets. They quickly started follow-up observations that exposed a remarkably bright occasion throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, from the X-rays to the millimeter and radio.
ESOs Very Large Telescope exposed that AT2022cmc was at a cosmological range of 8.5 billion light years away. The Hubble Space Telescope optical/infrared images and radio observations from the Very Large Array pinpointed the location of AT2022cmc with severe accuracy..
The researchers think that AT2022cmc was at the center of a galaxy that is not yet visible due to the fact that the light from AT2022cmc outshone it, but future space observations with Hubble or James Webb Space Telescopes may reveal the galaxy when the transient eventually vanishes.
It is still a mystery why some TDEs launch jets while others may not. From their observations, Andreoni and his group concluded that the black holes in AT2022cmc and other likewise jetted TDEs are most likely spinning rapidly so as to power the very luminescent jets. This recommends that a quick great void spin may be one necessary ingredient for jet introducing– an idea that brings researchers closer to understanding the physics of supermassive great voids at the center of galaxies billions of light years away.
Before AT2022cmc, just a couple of possible jetted TDEs were understood, mostly discovered by gamma-ray space objectives, which identify the highest-energy forms of radiation produced by these jets. With their new technique, astronomers can now search for such rare occasions in ground-based optical studies..
” Astronomy is altering quickly,” Andreoni said. “More infrared and optical all-sky studies are now active or will quickly come online. Scientists can utilize AT2022cmc as a model for what to try to find and find more disruptive occasions from far-off black holes. This suggests that more than ever, big information mining is a crucial tool to advance our knowledge of deep space.”.
For more on this research, checked out Supermassive Black Hole Violently Rips Star Apart, Launches Relativistic Jet.
Reference: “An extremely luminous jet from the disturbance of a star by a huge great void” by Igor Andreoni, Michael W. Coughlin, Daniel A. Perley, Yuhan Yao, Wenbin Lu, S. Bradley Cenko, Harsh Kumar, Shreya Anand, Anna Y. Q. Ho, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Antonio de Ugarte Postigo, Ana Sagués-Carracedo, Steve Schulze, D. Alexander Kann, S. R. Kulkarni, Jesper Sollerman, Nial Tanvir, Armin Rest, Luca Izzo, Jean J. Somalwar, David L. Kaplan, Tomás Ahumada, G. C. Anupama, Katie Auchettl, Sudhanshu Barway, Eric C. Bellm, Varun Bhalerao, Joshua S. Bloom, Michael Bremer, Mattia Bulla, Eric Burns, Sergio Campana, Poonam Chandra, Panos Charalampopoulos, Jeff Cooke, Valerio DElia, Kaustav Kashyap Das, Dougal Dobie, José Feliciano Agüí Fernández, James Freeburn, Cristoffer Fremling, Suvi Gezari, Simon Goode, Matthew J. Graham, Erica Hammerstein, Viraj R. Karambelkar, Charles D. Kilpatrick, Erik C. Kool, Melanie Krips, Russ R. Laher, Giorgos Leloudas, Andrew Levan, Michael J. Lundquist, Ashish A. Mahabal, Michael S. Medford, M. Coleman Miller, Anais Möller, Kunal P. Mooley, A. J. Nayana, Guy Nir, Peter T. H. Pang, Emmy Paraskeva, Richard A. Perley, Glen Petitpas, Miika Pursiainen, Vikram Ravi, Ryan Ridden-Harper, Reed Riddle, Mickael Rigault, Antonio C. Rodriguez, Ben Rusholme, Yashvi Sharma, I. A. Smith, Robert D. Stein, Christina Thöne, Aaron Tohuvavohu, Frank Valdes, Jan van Roestel, Susanna D. Vergani, Qinan Wang and Jielai Zhang, 30 November 2022, Nature.DOI: 10.1038/ s41586-022-05465-8.
AT2022cmc was observed by 21 astronomical facilities all over the world. These include Palomar 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope (Zwicky Transient Facility), Liverpool Telescope, Blanco telescope, GROWTH-India Telescope, Very Large Telescope, Nordic Optical Telescope, Very Large Array, Submillimeter Array, Northern Extended Millimeter Array, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, updated Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, Palomar 60-inch Telescope, Palomar 200-inch Hale Telescope, Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, Gran Telescopio Canarias, Calar Alto Observatory, W.M. Keck Observatory, Gemini Observatory, Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope.