The streams, disks, and jets from tidal disruption events

Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm

131A Campbell Hall

Eric Coughlin (U of Colorado, Boulder)


When a star comes within a critical distance of a supermassive black hole, the tidal force exerted by the hole overwhelms the stellar self-gravity, which subsequently tears the star apart and creates a stream of tidally-shredded debris. Approximately half of this debris eventually returns to the black hole, forms an accretion disk and generates a highly luminous event that can be accompanied by the production of relativistic jets. This entire process is known as a tidal disruption event (TDE), and in this talk I will mainly focus on some of the most recent work that I have done on analyzing the debris streams from these events. In particular, I will present the results of numerical and analytical investigations that suggest that these debris streams can be gravitationally unstable. This instability generates localized, self-gravitating clumps that are distributed throughout the stream, the implications of which are far-reaching and numerous. Finally, I will also discuss the work that I have done on the disks produced from the super-Eddington accretion phase of TDEs and on the relativistic jets launched during this phase.