A candidate tidal disruption event in the Galaxy cluster Abell 3571

N. Cappelluti, M. Ajello, P. Rebusco, S. Komossa, A. Bongiorno, C. Clemens, M. Salvato, P. Esquej, T. Aldcroft, J. Greiner, H. Quintana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Context. Tidal disruption events are possible sources of temporary nuclear activity in galactic nuclei and can be considered as good indicators of the existence of supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies.Aims. A new X-ray source has been detected serendipitously with ROSAT in a PSPC pointed observation of the galaxy cluster A3571. Given the strong flux decay of the object in subsequent detections, the tidal disruption scenario is investigated as a possible explanation of the event.Methods. We followed the evolution of the X-ray transient with ROSAT, XMM-Newton and Chandra for a total period of ~13 years. We also obtained 7-band optical/NIR photometry with GROND at the ESO/MPI 2.2 m telescope.Results. We report a very large decay of the X-ray flux of the ROSAT source identified with the galaxy LEDA 095953, a member of the cluster Abell 3571. We measured a maximum 0.3-2.4 keV luminosity Log(LX) = 42.8 erg s-1. The high state of the source lasted at least 150 ks; afterwards LX declined as ∼t-2. The spectrum of the brightest epoch is consistent with a black body with temperature kT ∼ 0.12 keV.Conclusions. The total energy released by this event in 10 yr was estimated to be △ E > 2 × 1050 erg. We interpret this event as a tidal disruption of a solar type star by the central supermassive black hole (i.e. ∼107 M) of the galaxy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L9-L12
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: clusters: individual: Abell 3571
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • X-rays: bursts
  • X-rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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