Tidal disruption events and the peculiar case of iPTF16fnl
DAM seminar room (724), 7th floor
Tidal disruption events are a power supply for short duration accretion episodes in SMBHs. For lower mass SMBHs, the returning timescales of the bound stellar debris is expected to be faster than for larger SMBHs, leading to shorter flare timescales and high accretion rates. In my talk, I will present an overview of the current state of the art of TDE research and describe the multi-wavelength follow-up observations of iPTF16fnl, an optical TDE candidate discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) collaboration in August 2016. This event, located in yet another post-starburst galaxy, is peculiar in many ways. It is one of the closest TDEs discovered so far (66.6 Mpc), it has unusually fast timescales, but low peak luminosity, L~1.e43 erg/s. This represents an order of magnitude fainter than previously discovered optical TDE candidates. For most of the current transient surveys, such faint events would be only accessible within a limited local volume (<350 Mpc), as compared to more luminous flares. Large forthcoming transient surveys, such as ZTF or LSST, will allow us to extend the current TDE sample with other similar low-luminosity events, providing a more detailed picture of TDE demographics. I will conclude my talk with an overview of the ZTF survey, led by the Caltech time domain group, which will start operating late 2017.