A tidal flare candidate in Abell 1795

W. P. Maksym, M. P. Ulmer, M. C. Eracleous, L. Guennou, L. C. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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As part of our ongoing archival X-ray survey of galaxy clusters for tidal flares, we present evidence of an X-ray transient source within 1 arcmin of the core of Abell 1795. The extreme variability (a factor of nearly 50), luminosity (>2 × 1042 erg s-1), long duration (>5 yr) and supersoft X-ray spectrum (>0.1 keV) are characteristic signatures of a stellar tidal disruption event according to theoretical predictions and to existing X-ray observations, implying a massive {greater-than or approximate}105Ṁ black hole at the centre of that galaxy. The large number of X-ray source counts (~700) and long temporal baseline (~12yr with Chandra and XMM-Newton) make this one of the best sampled examples of any tidal flare candidate to date. The transient may be the same EUV source originally found contaminating the diffuse intracluster medium observations of Bowyer, Berghöfer and Korpela, which would make it the only tidal flare candidate with reported EUV observations and implies an early source luminosity 1-2 orders of magnitude greater. If the host galaxy is a clustermember then it must be a dwarf galaxy, an order of magnitude less massive than the quiescent galaxy Henize 2-10 which hosts a massive black hole that is difficult to reconcile with its low mass. The unusual faintness of the host galaxy may be explained by tidal stripping in the cluster core.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1904-1927
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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