A tidal disruption event in a nearby galaxy hosting an intermediate mass black hole

D. Donato, S. B. Cenko, S. Covino, E. Troja, T. Pursimo, C. C. Cheung, O. Fox, A. Kutyrev, S. Campana, D. Fugazza, H. Landt, Nathaniel Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We report the serendipitous discovery of a bright point source flare in the Abell cluster A1795 with archival EUVE and Chandra observations. Assuming the EUVE emission is associated with the Chandra source, the X-ray 0.5-7 keV flux declined by a factor of 2300 over a time span of 6 yr, following a power-law decay with index 2.44 ± 0.40. The Chandra data alone vary by a factor of 20. The spectrum is well fit by a blackbody with a constant temperature of kT 0.09 keV (106 K). The flare is spatially coincident with the nuclear region of a faint, inactive galaxy with a photometric redshift consistent at the 1σ level with the cluster (z = 0.062476). We argue that these properties are indicative of a tidal disruption of a star by a black hole (BH) with log (M BH/M) 5.5 ± 0.5. If so, such a discovery indicates that tidal disruption flares may be used to probe BHs in the intermediate mass range, which are very difficult to study by other means.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • X-rays
  • clusters
  • galaxies
  • general
  • individual (A1795)
  • nuclei

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A tidal disruption event in a nearby galaxy hosting an intermediate mass black hole'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this