Probing the Subparsec Dust of a Supermassive Black Hole with the Tidal Disruption Event AT 2020mot

Megan Newsome*, Iair Arcavi, D. Andrew Howell, Jamison Burke, Kishalay De, Yael Dgany, Sara Faris, Joseph Farah, Daichi Hiramatsu, Curtis McCully, Estefania Padilla-Gonzalez, Craig Pellegrino, Giacomo Terreran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

AT 2020mot is a typical UV/optical tidal disruption event (TDE) with no radio or X-ray signatures in a quiescent host. We find an i-band excess and rebrightening along the decline of the light curve which could be due to two consecutive dust echoes from the TDE. We model our observations following van Velzen et al. and find that the near-infrared light curve can be explained by concentric rings of thin dust within ∼0.1 pc of a ∼6 × 106 M supermassive black hole (SMBH), among the smallest scales at which dust has been inferred near SMBHs. We find dust covering factors of order fc ≤ 2%, much lower than found for dusty tori of active galactic nuclei. These results highlight the potential of TDEs for uncovering the environments around black holes when including near-infrared observations in high-cadence transient studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number239
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume961
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024

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