An ultrasoft X-ray flare from 3XMM J152130.7+074916: a tidal disruption event candidate

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/811/1/43
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal
ISSN1538-4357
Volume811
Issue1
Pages4351
AbstractWe report on the discovery of an ultrasoft X-ray transient source, 3XMM J152130.7+074916. It was serendipitously detected in an XMM-Newton observation on 2000 August 23, and its location is consistent with the center of the galaxy SDSS J152130.72+074916.5 (z = 0.17901 and dL = 866 Mpc). The high-quality X-ray spectrum can be fitted with a thermal disk with an apparent inner disk temperature of 0.17 keV and a rest-frame 0.24–11.8 keV unabsorbed luminosity of ~5 × 10⁴³ erg s⁻¹, subject to a fast-moving warm absorber. Short-term variability was also clearly observed, with the spectrum being softer at lower flux. The source was covered but not detected in a Chandra observation on 2000 April 3, a Swift observation on 2005 September 10, and a second XMM-Newton observation on 2014 January 19, implying a large variability (>260) of the X-ray flux. The optical spectrum of the candidate host galaxy, taken ~11 years after the XMM-Newton detection, shows no sign of nuclear activity. This, combined with its transient and ultrasoft properties, leads us to explain the source as tidal disruption of a star by the supermassive black hole in the galactic center. We attribute the fast-moving warm absorber detected in the first XMM-Newton observation to the super-Eddington outflow associated with the event and the short-term variability to a disk instability that caused fast change of the inner disk radius at a constant mass accretion rate.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Science Infrastructure; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23000668
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Record identifierafc0dd99-fb3a-435e-bda1-7ce690c5be4e
Record created2016-08-19
Record modified2016-08-19
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