Evidence for a TDE origin of the radio transient Cygnus A-2

12 Apr 2019  ·  de Vries Martijn N., Wise Michael W., Nulsen Paul E. J., Siemiginowska Aneta, Rowlinson Antonia, Reynolds Christopher S. ·

In 2015, a radio transient named Cygnus A-2 was discovered in Cygnus A with the Very Large Array. Because of its radio brightness ($\nu F_{\nu} \approx 6 \times 10^{39}$ erg s$^{-1}$), this transient likely represents a secondary black hole in orbit around the AGN... Using {\it Chandra} ACIS observations from 2015 to 2017, we have looked for an X-ray counterpart to Cygnus A-2. The separation of 0.42 arcsec means that Cygnus A-2 can not be spatially resolved, but by comparing the data with simulated \texttt{marx} data, we put an upper limit to the 2-10 keV X-ray luminosity of Cygnus A-2 of $1 \times 10^{43}$ erg s$^{-1}$. Using the Fundamental Plane for accreting black holes, we find that our upper limit to the X-ray flux of Cygnus A-2 in 2015-2017 disfavours the interpretation of Cygnus A-2 as a steadily accreting black hole. We suggest instead that Cygnus A-2 is the radio afterglow of a tidal disruption event (TDE), and that a peak in the 2-10 keV luminosity of the nuclear region in 2013, when it was observed by {\it Swift} and {\it NuSTAR}, is X-ray emission from the TDE. A TDE could naturally explain the X-ray light curve of the nuclear region, as well as the appearance of a short-lived, fast, and ionized outflow previously detected in the 2013 {\it NuSTAR} spectrum. Both the radio and X-ray luminosities fall in between typical luminosities for 'thermal' and 'jetted' TDE types, suggesting that Cygnus A-2 would be unlike previously seen TDE's. read more

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena