Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Tim Roberts

Irwin, J.A., Brink, T.G. Bregman, J.N. & Roberts, T.P. (2010). Evidence for a Stellar Disruption by an Intermediate-mass Black Hole in an Extragalactic Globular Cluster. Astrophysical Journal Letters 712(1): L1-L4.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

We report [O III] λ5007 and [N II] λ6583 emission from a globular cluster harboring the ultraluminous X-ray source CXOJ033831.8 – 352604 in the Fornax elliptical galaxy NGC 1399. No accompanying Balmer emission lines are present in the spectrum. One possibility is that the forbidden lines emanate from X-ray-illuminated debris of a star that has been tidally disrupted by an intermediate-mass black hole, with this debris also feeding the black hole leading to the observed X-ray emission. The line strengths indicate that the minimum size of the emitting region is ~1015 cm, and if the 70 km s–1 half-widths of the emission lines represent rotation around the black hole, a minimum black hole mass of 1000 M ☉ is implied. The non-detection of Hα and Hβ emission lines suggests a white dwarf star was disrupted, although the presence of strong nitrogen emission is somewhat of a mystery.

Notes

http://ukads.nottingham.ac.uk/abs/2010ApJ...712L...1I