Tidal disruption Eddington envelopes around massive black holes

Andrew Ulmer, Bohdan Paczyński, Jeremy Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Optically-thick envelopes may form following the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole. Such envelopes would reprocess hard radiation from accretion close to the black hole into the UV and optical bands producing AGN-luminosity flares with duration ∼ 1 year. We show that due to relativistic effects, the envelopes are convective. If convection is efficient, then the structure of the envelopes is similar to that described in previous work; however, the photospheric radius is shown to be very sensitive to the luminosity at the envelope base, suggesting that either the envelope collapses or the envelope expands to a maximum radius at which point a wind may set in. For an envelope without winds, we find a maximum photospheric radius of ∼ 1016 cm (i.e. minimum effective temperature ∼ 6,000 K). The evolution of the envelopes is described based on simple energy arguments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-384
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Quasars: general
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies


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