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Partial, Zombie, and Full Tidal Disruption of Stars by Supermassive Black Holes

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-21, 14:55 authored by CJ Nixon, Eric R Coughlin, Patrick R Miles
We present long-duration numerical simulations of the tidal disruption of stars modeled with accurate stellar structures and spanning a range of pericenter distances, corresponding to cases where the stars are partially and completely disrupted. We substantiate the prediction that the late-time power-law index of the fallback rate n∞ ≃ −5/3 for full disruptions, while for partial disruptions—in which the central part of the star survives the tidal encounter intact—we show that n∞ ≃ −9/4. For the subset of simulations where the pericenter distance is close to that which delineates full from partial disruption, we find that a stellar core can reform after the star has been completely destroyed; for these events the energy of the zombie core is slightly positive, which results in late-time evolution from n ≃ −9/4 to n ≃ −5/3. We find that self-gravity can generate an n(t) that deviates from n∞ by a small but significant amount for several years post-disruption. In one specific case with the stellar pericenter near the critical value, we find that self-gravity also drives the recollapse of the central regions of the debris stream into a collection of several cores while the rest of the stream remains relatively smooth. We also show that it is possible for the surviving stellar core in a partial disruption to acquire a circumstellar disk that is shed from the rapidly rotating core. Finally, we provide a novel analytical fitting function for the fallback rates that may also be useful in a range of contexts beyond tidal disruption events.

History

Citation

ApJ 922 168

Author affiliation

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Astrophysical Journal

Volume

922

Issue

2

Publisher

IOP Publishing Ltd

issn

0004-637X

eissn

1538-4357

Copyright date

2021

Available date

2022-11-29

Language

English