NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013A-0111

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Proposal Information for 2013A-0111


PI: Stephen Cenko, UC Berkeley (Astronomy), cenko@astro.berkeley.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 601 Campbell Hall #3411, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3411, USA

CoI: Joshua Bloom, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Linda Strubbe, University of Toronto
CoI: Eliot Quataert, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Nat Butler, Arizona State University
CoI: Adam Miller, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Adam Morgan, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Andrew Levan, University of Warwick
CoI: Nial Tanvir, University of Leicester

Title: Probing the Central Black Holes of Distant, Quiescent Galaxies via Tidal Disruption Flares

Abstract: A star passing within the sphere of disruption of a massive black hole will be torn apart by tidal forces. For sufficiently low-mass black holes, the disruption will occur outside the event horizon and lead to a bright, short-lived transient known as a tidal disruption flare (TDF). The recent discovery of two unusual panchromatic transients (Sw J1644+57 and Sw J2058+05), together with results from modern wide-field optical surveys such as the Palomar Transient Factory, hint at an unexpected diversity in the emission properties of these sources. Here we request a ToO program with Gemini to help identify and study newly discovered TDF candidates. With so much diversity in the observed and expected emission properties of TDFs, each new candidate presents a real opportunity to fundamentally advance our understanding of the basic physics of these objects. Ultimately, our long-term aim is to use these sources as probes of the properties of central black holes in distant, quiescent galaxies beyond the reach of current kinematic studies.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013A-0111

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