A team of astronomers from Finland, Greece and the United States has found evidence to show that the polarized light emissions observed during the tidal disruption event were caused by colliding streams of material from a destroyed star. In their study, reported in the journal Sciencesthe group analyzed data from a tidal disturbance event in the WISEA galaxy.
Previous research has shown that if a black hole moves close enough to a star, the star can stretch into long filaments instead of falling straight out. Such actions are known as tides flaw TDEs and filamentary matter from the destroyed star tend to light up as they orbit the black hole before falling in. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the source of the bright light from such a TDE tape. To that end, they obtained data from the Scandinavian Optical Telescope because it captured TDE in action and in use Programming From the Research Center Archives of High Energy Astrophysical Sciences for study.
They were able to see the remaining matter from the TDE orbiting the black hole. They were also able to see that the material became hotter due to the energy from the encounter.
During their initial work, they found it visually polarization Measurements around the TDE varied during the event and peaked at a linear polarization score of 25 ± 4%. They noted that this high degree of polarization indicates a relativistic plane. But after eight months, no radio emissions had been detected, which would not have been the case if the emissions had been associated with a relativistic plane.
The team then compared their observations to models that depict interactions between the two black holes And the stars. They report that it is likely that because residual matter from the TDE encircled the black hole, it collided with similar material that orbited the black hole in the opposite direction and produced a shock wave – which was the source of the high polarization they observed.
I. Liodakis et al, Optical polarization from the collision of stellar stream shocks in a tidal disturbance event, Sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1126/science.abj9570
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