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A tidal disruption event coincident with a high-energy neutrino

Stein, Robert and van Velzen, Sjoert and Kowalski, Marek and Franckowiak, Anna and Gezari, Suvi and Miller-Jones, James C. A. and Frederick, Sara and Sfaradi, Itai and Bietenholz, Michael F. and Horesh, Assaf and Fender, Rob and Garrappa, Simone and Ahumada, Tomás and Andreoni, Igor and Belicki, Justin and Bellm, Eric C. and Böttcher, Markus and Brinnel, Valery and Burruss, Rick and Cenko, S. Bradley and Coughlin, Michael W. and Cunningham, Virginia and Drake, Andrew and Farrar, Glennys R. and Feeney, Michael and Foley, Ryan J. and Gal-Yam, Avishay and Golkhou, V. Zach and Goobar, Ariel and Graham, Matthew J. and Hammerstein, Erica and Helou, George and Hung, Tiara and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Kilpatrick, Charles D. and Kong, Albert K. H. and Kupfer, Thomas and Laher, Russ R. and Mahabal, Ashish A. and Masci, Frank J. and Necker, Jannis and Nordin, Jakob and Perley, Daniel A. and Rigault, Mickael and Reusch, Simeon and Rodriguez, Hector and Rojas-Bravo, César and Rusholme, Ben and Shupe, David L. and Singer, Leo P. and Sollerman, Jesper and Soumagnac, Maayane T. and Stern, Daniel and Taggart, Kirsty and van Santen, Jakob and Ward, Charlotte and Woudt, Patrick A. and Yao, Yuhan (2021) A tidal disruption event coincident with a high-energy neutrino. Nature Astronomy . ISSN 2397-3366. doi:10.1038/s41550-020-01295-8.

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[img] PDF (Supplementary Discussion, Fig. 1 and Tables 1–5) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 1: Spectroscopic evolution of AT2019dsg) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 2: X-ray count map from XMM-Newton) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 3: Soft X-ray spectrum of AT2019dsg) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 4: Peak frequency and peak flux density of the radio observations) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 5: Properties of radio-emitting region) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 6: LAT count map of the Region Of Interest (ROI)) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 7: Gamma-ray energy flux upper-limits for AT2019dsg) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 8: LAT lightcurve for Fermi-J2113.8+1120) - Supplemental Material
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Cosmic neutrinos provide a unique window into the otherwise hidden mechanism of particle acceleration in astrophysical objects. The IceCube Collaboration recently reported the likely association of one high-energy neutrino with a flare from the relativistic jet of an active galaxy pointed towards the Earth. However a combined analysis of many similar active galaxies revealed no excess from the broader population, leaving the vast majority of the cosmic neutrino flux unexplained. Here we present the likely association of a radio-emitting tidal disruption event, AT2019dsg, with a second high-energy neutrino. AT2019dsg was identified as part of our systematic search for optical counterparts to high-energy neutrinos with the Zwicky Transient Facility. The probability of finding any coincident radio-emitting tidal disruption event by chance is 0.5%, while the probability of finding one as bright in bolometric energy flux as AT2019dsg is 0.2%. Our electromagnetic observations can be explained through a multizone model, with radio analysis revealing a central engine, embedded in a UV photosphere, that powers an extended synchrotron-emitting outflow. This provides an ideal site for petaelectronvolt neutrino production. Assuming that the association is genuine, our observations suggest that tidal disruption events with mildly relativistic outflows contribute to the cosmic neutrino flux.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Paper
Stein, Robert0000-0003-2434-0387
van Velzen, Sjoert0000-0002-3859-8074
Kowalski, Marek0000-0001-8594-8666
Franckowiak, Anna0000-0002-5605-2219
Gezari, Suvi0000-0003-3703-5154
Miller-Jones, James C. A.0000-0003-3124-2814
Frederick, Sara0000-0001-9676-730X
Sfaradi, Itai0000-0003-0466-3779
Horesh, Assaf0000-0002-5936-1156
Fender, Rob0000-0002-5654-2744
Garrappa, Simone0000-0003-2403-4582
Ahumada, Tomás0000-0002-2184-6430
Andreoni, Igor0000-0002-8977-1498
Bellm, Eric C.0000-0001-8018-5348
Cenko, S. Bradley0000-0003-1673-970X
Coughlin, Michael W.0000-0002-8262-2924
Cunningham, Virginia0000-0003-2292-0441
Foley, Ryan J.0000-0002-2445-5275
Gal-Yam, Avishay0000-0002-3653-5598
Golkhou, V. Zach0000-0001-8205-2506
Goobar, Ariel0000-0002-4163-4996
Graham, Matthew J.0000-0002-3168-0139
Hammerstein, Erica0000-0002-5698-8703
Helou, George0000-0003-3367-3415
Hung, Tiara0000-0002-9878-7889
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Kilpatrick, Charles D.0000-0002-5740-7747
Kong, Albert K. H.0000-0002-5105-344X
Kupfer, Thomas0000-0002-6540-1484
Laher, Russ R.0000-0003-2451-5482
Mahabal, Ashish A.0000-0003-2242-0244
Masci, Frank J.0000-0002-8532-9395
Necker, Jannis0000-0003-0280-7484
Nordin, Jakob0000-0001-8342-6274
Perley, Daniel A.0000-0001-8472-1996
Rigault, Mickael0000-0002-8121-2560
Reusch, Simeon0000-0002-7788-628X
Rojas-Bravo, César0000-0002-7559-315X
Rusholme, Ben0000-0001-7648-4142
Shupe, David L.0000-0003-4401-0430
Singer, Leo P.0000-0001-9898-5597
Sollerman, Jesper0000-0003-1546-6615
Soumagnac, Maayane T.0000-0001-6753-1488
Stern, Daniel0000-0003-2686-9241
Taggart, Kirsty0000-0002-5748-4558
Ward, Charlotte0000-0002-4557-6682
Woudt, Patrick A.0000-0002-6896-1655
Yao, Yuhan0000-0001-6747-8509
Alternate Title:A high-energy neutrino coincident with a tidal disruption event
Additional Information:© 2021 Nature Publishing Group. Received 21 July 2020; Accepted 16 December 2020; Published 22 February 2021. We thank C. Lunardini, A. MacFadyen, B. Metzger, A. Mummery, A. Pizzuto, N. Stone, A. Taylor and W. Winter for discussions. We also thank the IceCube Collaboration for publishing high-energy neutrino alerts. We thank S. Digel, K. Fang, D. Horan, M. Kerr, V. Paliya and J. Racusin for feedback provided during a Fermi collaboration review. R.S. is grateful to NYU for facilitating a visit to develop this work. M.K. is grateful for the hospitality received from Columbia University and NYU during a sabbatical visit. This work was supported by the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association through the Young Investigator Group programme (A.F.). S.v.V. is supported by the James Arthur Postdoctoral Fellowship. This research was partially supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP200102471). The work of M.B. is supported through the South African Research Chair Initiative of the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Innovation of South Africa, under SARChI Chair grant no. 64789. Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the authors and the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard. A.H. acknowledges support by the I-Core Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and the Israel Science Foundation. The UCSC transient team is supported in part by NSF grant AST-1518052, NASA/Swift grant 80NSSC19K1386, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation and a fellowship from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to R.J.F. V.Z.G. is a Moore–Sloan, WRF Innovation in Data Science and DIRAC Fellow. A.G.-Y.’s research is supported by the EU via ERC grant no. 725161, the ISF GW Excellence Center, an IMOS space infrastructure grant and BSF/Transformative and GIF grants, as well as the Benoziyo Endowment Fund for the Advancement of Science, the André Deloro Institute for Advanced Research in Space and Optics, the Veronika A. Rabl Physics Discretionary Fund, Paul and Tina Gardner, Yeda-Sela and the WIS-CIT joint research grant; A.G.-Y. is the recipient of the Helen and Martin Kimmel Award for Innovative Investigation. M.R. has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 759194-USNAC). The work of D.S. was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. The work of S.R. was supported by the Helmholtz Weizmann Research School on Multimessenger Astronomy, funded through the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association, DESY, the Weizmann Institute, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Potsdam. This work is based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin telescope 48-inch and the 60-inch telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the ZTF project. ZTF is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant no. AST-1440341 and a collaboration including Caltech, IPAC, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Oskar Klein Center at Stockholm University, the University of Maryland, the University of Washington, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron and Humboldt University, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the TANGO Consortium of Taiwan, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Operations are conducted by COO, IPAC and UW. SED Machine is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant no. 1106171. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The MeerKAT telescope is operated by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is a facility of the National Research Foundation, an agency of the Department of Science and Innovation. The work was supported by the GROWTH project funded by the National Science Foundation Partnership in International Research and Education program under grant no. 1545949. GROWTH is a collaborative project between the California Institute of Technology (United States), Pomona College (United States), San Diego State University (United States), Los Alamos National Laboratory (United States), University of Maryland College Park (United States), University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (United States), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), National Central University (Taiwan), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (India), Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (India), Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), The Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University (Sweden) and Humboldt University (Germany). The Liverpool Telescope is operated on the island of La Palma by Liverpool John Moores University in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias with financial support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. Research at Lick Observatory is partially supported by a gift from Google. The Fermi-LAT Collaboration acknowledges support for LAT development, operation and data analysis from NASA and DOE (United States), CEA/Irfu and IN2P3/CNRS (France), ASI and INFN (Italy), MEXT, KEK and JAXA (Japan) and the K.A. Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the National Space Board (Sweden). Science analysis support in the operations phase from INAF (Italy) and CNES (France) is also acknowledged. This work was performed in part under DOE contract DE-AC02-76SF00515. IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated at the US Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station under the US Antarctic Program. Data availability: The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from, and at Code availability: Python scripts used to perform significant calculations, and to reproduce all figures, are available from, and at Author Contributions: R.S. first identified AT2019dsg as a candidate neutrino source, performed the neutrino analysis and was the primary author of the manuscript. M.K., R.S. and S.v.V. developed the multizone model. G.R.F., M.K. and R.S. performed the neutrino modelling. A.F., J. Necker, R.S. and S.R. scheduled and analysed ZTF ToO observations. J.C.A.M.-J. and S.v.V. contributed the VLA observations. A.H., R.J.F. and I.S. contributed the AMI-LA observations. M.F.B., M.B., R.J.F., J.C.A.M.-J. and P.W. contributed the MeerKAT observations. S. Gezari and S.v.V. requested and reduced the Swift-UVOT data. D.A.P. and K.T. contributed the Liverpool Telescope observations. S.B.C., S.F. and S. Gezari performed X-ray observations and data analysis. S. Garrappa analysed Fermi gamma-ray data. S.R. and S.v.V. analysed the ZTF data. J.B., E.C.B., R.B., S.B.C., V.C., M.F., V.Z.G., A.G., M.J.G, G.H., M.M.K., T.K., R.R.L., A.A.M, F.J.M., H.R., B.R., D.L.S. and M.T.S contributed to the implementation of ZTF. T.A., I.A., M.W.C., M.M.K. and L.P.S. enabled ZTF ToO observations. A.D., R.J.F., M.J.G., S. Gezari, E.H., T.H., M.M.K., C.D.K., M.R., C.R.-B., D.S, C.W. and Y.Y. contributed to spectroscopic observations and data reduction. R.S. developed the ToO analysis pipeline. V.B., J. Nordin and J.v.S. developed AMPEL, and contributed to the ToO analysis infrastructure. A.G.-Y., A.K.H.K. and J.S. contributed to the manuscript and discussions. All authors reviewed the contents of the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Astronomy thanks Kimitake Hayasaki and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Group:Astronomy Department, Zwicky Transient Facility, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren (HGF)UNSPECIFIED
New York University (NYU)UNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilDP200102471
National Research Foundation (South Africa)64789
Department of Science and Innovation (South Africa)UNSPECIFIED
I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting CommitteeUNSPECIFIED
Israel Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Washington Research FoundationUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)725161
Israel Ministry of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Binational Science Foundation (USA-Israel)UNSPECIFIED
German-Israeli Foundation for Research and DevelopmentUNSPECIFIED
Benoziyo Endowment FundUNSPECIFIED
Deloro Institute for Advanced Research in Space and OpticsUNSPECIFIED
Veronika A. Rabl Physics Discretionary FundUNSPECIFIED
Paul and Tina GardnerUNSPECIFIED
Weizmann Institute of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Helen and Martin Kimmel AwardUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)759194
Helmholtz Weizmann Research School on Multimessenger AstronomyUNSPECIFIED
Deutsches Elektronen-SynchrotronUNSPECIFIED
Humboldt UniversityUNSPECIFIED
University of PotsdamUNSPECIFIED
ZTF partner institutionsUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)UNSPECIFIED
Institut de recherche sur les lois fondamentales de l'Univers (Irfu)UNSPECIFIED
Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)UNSPECIFIED
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)UNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)UNSPECIFIED
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)UNSPECIFIED
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
National Space Board (Sweden)UNSPECIFIED
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-76SF00515
Heising-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200604-151413064
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Stein, R., Velzen, S.v., Kowalski, M. et al. A tidal disruption event coincident with a high-energy neutrino. Nat Astron (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103703
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Jun 2020 20:11
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:24

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