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2020ApJ...890L..26K - Astrophys. J., 890, L26-L26 (2020/February-3)

Rapid transients originating from thermonuclear explosions in helium white dwarf tidal disruption events.


Abstract (from CDS):

We study the emission properties of thermonuclear explosions in a helium white dwarf (WD) tidal disruption event (TDE). We consider a TDE where a 0.2 M helium WD is disrupted by a 102.5 M intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH). The helium WD is not only tidally disrupted but is also detonated by the tidal compression and by succeeding shocks. We focus on the emission powered by radioactive nuclei in the unbound TDE ejecta. We perform hydrodynamic simulations coupled with nuclear reactions, post-process detailed nucleosynthesis calculations, and radiative transfer simulations. We thus derive multi-band light curves and spectra. The helium WD TDE shows rapid (Δt1mag ≃ 5-10 days) and relatively faint (Lpeak≃1042ergs–1) light curves, because the ejecta mass and 56Ni mass are low (0.12 M and 0.03 M, respectively). The spectra show strong calcium and Fe-peak features and very weak silicon features, reflecting the peculiar elemental abundance. The key feature is the Doppler shift of the spectral lines up to ≃ ±12,000 km s–1, depending on the viewing angle, due to the bulk motion of the ejecta. Our model matches well with two rapid and faint transients reported in Pursiainen et al. The particular model presented here does not match with observed SNe Iax, calcium-rich transients, or .Ia explosion candidates, either in the spectra or light curves. However, we expect a large variety of observational signatures once a wide range of the WD/black hole masses and orbital parameters are considered. This study contributes to the search for WD TDEs with current and upcoming surveys, and to the identification of IMBHs as disrupters in TDEs.

Abstract Copyright: © 2020. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Journal keyword(s): Explosive nucleosynthesis - Helium burning - Nucleosynthesis - Radiative transfer simulations - Astronomical simulations - White dwarf stars - Intermediate-mass black holes - Black holes - Supernovae - Radiative transfer - Tidal disruption - Hydrodynamical simulations

Simbad objects: 10

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