Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 450, 2824-2841 (2015/July-1)
The radio afterglow of Swift J1644+57 reveals a powerful jet with fast core and slow sheath.
MIMICA P., GIANNIOS D., METZGER B.D. and ALOY M.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We model the non-thermal transient Swift J1644+57 as resulting from a relativistic jet powered by the accretion of a tidally disrupted star on to a supermassive black hole. Accompanying synchrotron radio emission is produced by the shock interaction between the jet and the dense circumnuclear medium, similar to a gamma-ray burst afterglow. An open mystery, however, is the origin of the late-time radio re-brightening, which occurred well after the peak of the jetted X-ray emission. Here, we systematically explore several proposed explanations for this behaviour by means of multidimensional hydrodynamic simulations coupled to a self-consistent radiative transfer calculation of the synchrotron emission. Our main conclusion is that the radio afterglow of Swift J1644+57 is not naturally explained by a jet with a one-dimensional top-hat angular structure. However, a more complex angular structure comprised of an ultrarelativistic core (Lorentz factor Γ ∼ 10) surrounded by a slower (Γ ∼ 2) sheath provides a reasonable fit to the data. Such a geometry could result from the radial structure of the super-Eddington accretion flow or as the result of jet precession. The total kinetic energy of the ejecta that we infer of ∼ few 1053erg requires a highly efficient jet launching mechanism. Our jet model providing the best fit to the light curve of the on-axis event Swift J1644+57 is used to predict the radio light curves for off-axis viewing angles. Implications for the presence of relativistic jets from tidal disruption events (TDEs) detected via their thermal disc emission, as well as the prospects for detecting orphan TDE afterglows with upcoming wide-field radio surveys and resolving the jet structure with long baseline interferometry, are discussed.