University of Leicester
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Simulated optical light curves of super-Eddington tidal disruption events with ZEBRA flows

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-16, 14:49 authored by RAJ Eyles-Ferris, RLC Starling, PT O'Brien, CJ Nixon, Eric R Coughlin

We present simulated optical light curves of super-Eddington tidal disruption events (TDEs) using the ZEro-BeRnoulli Accretion (ZEBRA) flow model, which proposes that during the super-Eddington phase, the disc is quasi-spherical, radiation-pressure dominated, and accompanied by the production of strong jets. We construct light curves for both on- and off-axis (with respect to the jet) observers to account for the anisotropic nature of the jetted emission. We find that at optical wavelengths, emission from the accretion flow is orders of magnitude brighter than that produced by the jet, even with boosting from synchrotron self-Compton. Comparing to the observed jetted TDE Swift J2058.4+0516, we find that the ZEBRA model accurately captures the time-scale for which accretion remains super-Eddington and reproduces the luminosity of the transient. However, we find the shape of the light curves deviate at early times and the radius and temperature of our modelled ZEBRA are ∼2.7–4.1 times smaller and ∼1.4–2.3 times larger, respectively, than observed. We suggest that this indicates the ZEBRA inflates more, and more rapidly, than currently predicted by the model, and we discuss possible extensions to the model to account for this. Such refinements, coupled with valuable new data from upcoming large-scale surveys, could help to resolve the nature of super-Eddington TDEs and how they are powered.


Astrophysics Research at the University of Leicester

Science and Technology Facilities Council

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RAJEF acknowledges support from the Science and Technol-ogy Facilities Council, the UK Space Agency and the EuropeanUnion's Horizon 2020 Programme under the AHEAD2020 project(grant agreement number 871158). CJN acknowledges supportfrom the Science and Technology Facilities Council [grant num-ber ST/W000857/1], and the Leverhulme Trust (grant number RPG-2021-380). ERC acknowledges support from the National ScienceFoundation through grant AST-2006684, and a Ralph E. Powe Ju-nior Faculty Enhancement Award through the Oakridge AssociatedUniversities.


Author affiliation

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society






6013 - 6021


Oxford University Press (OUP) for Royal Astronomical Society





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