Simulated optical light curves of super-Eddington tidal disruption events with ZEBRA flows

R. A.J. Eyles-Ferris, R. L.C. Starling, P. T. O'brien, C. J. Nixon, Eric R. Coughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We present simulated optical light curves of super-Eddington tidal disruption events (TDEs) using the ZEro-BeRnoulli Accretion (ZEBRA) flow model, which proposes that during the super-Eddington phase, the disc is quasi-spherical, radiation-pressure dominated, and accompanied by the production of strong jets. We construct light curves for both on- and off-axis (with respect to the jet) observers to account for the anisotropic nature of the jetted emission. We find that at optical wavelengths, emission from the accretion flow is orders of magnitude brighter than that produced by the jet, even with boosting from synchrotron self-Compton. Comparing to the observed jetted TDE Swift J2058.4+0516, we find that the ZEBRA model accurately captures the time-scale for which accretion remains super-Eddington and reproduces the luminosity of the transient. However, we find the shape of the light curves deviate at early times and the radius and temperature of our modelled ZEBRA are ∼2.7-4.1 times smaller and ∼1.4-2.3 times larger, respectively, than observed. We suggest that this indicates the ZEBRA inflates more, and more rapidly, than currently predicted by the model, and we discuss possible extensions to the model to account for this. Such refinements, coupled with valuable new data from upcoming large-scale surveys, could help to resolve the nature of super-Eddington TDEs and how they are powered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6013-6021
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • accretion, accretion discs
  • black hole physics
  • transients: tidal disruption events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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