Tidal Disruptions of White Dwarfs: Theoretical Models and Observational Prospects

Kate Maguire, Michael Eracleous, Peter G. Jonker, Morgan MacLeod, Stephan Rosswog

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


White dwarf stars that enter the tidal radius of black holes with masses ≲105M⊙ are doomed to be ripped apart by tidal forces. Black holes in this mass range between stellar black holes and supermassive black holes have not been conclusively identified so the detection of a tidal disruption of a white dwarf would provide clear evidence for the existence of intermediate-mass black holes. In this review, we present a theoretical and observational overview of the transient events that result from the tidal disruptions of white dwarfs by intermediate-mass black holes. This includes discussion of the latest simulations and predicted properties, the results of observational searches, as well as a summary of the potential for gravitational wave emission to be detected with upcoming missions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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