New Discoveries from the Numerical Simulation of Tidal Disruptions
October 11, 2012
Abstract: Approximately a dozen luminous flares located at the centers of their host galaxies have been associated with the tidal disruption of a star by a supermassive black hole. Analytical models of tides make one of two assumptions to make the problem tractable: Either the tidal force is weak compared to the star’s gravity, or the star’s gravity is weak compared to the tidal force. I will describe how hydrodynamical simulations have helped to improve our understanding of tides in the non-linear regime where these two forces are comparable, and how this new information can be utilized to characterize the luminous flares produced by tidal disruptions.