A possible relativistic jetted outburst from a massive black hole fed by a tidally disrupted star

Joshua S. Bloom, Dimitrios Giannios, Brian D. Metzger, S. Bradley Cenko, Daniel A. Perley, Nathaniel R. Butler, Nial R. Tanvir, Andrew J. Levan, Paul T. O'Brien, Linda E. Strubbe, Fabio De Colle, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, William H. Lee, Sergei Nayakshin, Eliot Quataert, Andrew R. King, Antonino Cucchiara, James Guillochon, Geoffrey C. Bower, Andrew S. FruchterAdam N. Morgan, Alexander J. Van Der Horst

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320 Scopus citations


Gas accretion onto some massive black holes (MBHs) at the centers of galaxies actively powers luminous emission, but most MBHs are considered dormant. Occasionally, a star passing too near an MBH is torn apart by gravitational forces, leading to a bright tidal disruption flare (TDF). Although the high-energy transient Sw 1644+57 initially displayed none of the theoretically anticipated (nor previously observed) TDF characteristics, we show that observations suggest a sudden accretion event onto a central MBH of mass about 106 to 107 solar masses. There is evidence for a mildly relativistic outflow, jet collimation, and a spectrum characterized by synchrotron and inverse Compton processes; this leads to a natural analogy of Sw 1644+57 to a temporary smaller-scale blazar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-206
Number of pages4
Issue number6039
StatePublished - Jul 8 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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Cite this

Bloom, J. S., Giannios, D., Metzger, B. D., Cenko, S. B., Perley, D. A., Butler, N. R., Tanvir, N. R., Levan, A. J., O'Brien, P. T., Strubbe, L. E., De Colle, F., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Lee, W. H., Nayakshin, S., Quataert, E., King, A. R., Cucchiara, A., Guillochon, J., Bower, G. C., ... Van Der Horst, A. J. (2011). A possible relativistic jetted outburst from a massive black hole fed by a tidally disrupted star. Science, 333(6039), 203-206. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1207150