Double tidal disruptions in galactic nuclei

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Monash Center for Astrophysics and School of Physics
  • Monash University


A star on a nearly radial trajectory approaching a massive black hole (MBH) gets tidally disrupted if it comes sufficiently close to the MBH. Here we explore what happens to binary stars whose centers of mass approach the MBH on nearly radial orbits. The interaction with the MBH often leads to both stars being disrupted in sequence. We argue that such events could produce light curves that are substantially different from those of the single disruptions, with possible features such as two local maxima. Tidal forces from the MBH can also lead the binary components to collide; these merger products can form highly magnetized stars, whose subsequent tidal disruption may enable prompt jet formation.


Original languageEnglish
Article numberL4
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Early online date14 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2015


  • binaries: close, galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, galaxies: nuclei