Discovery of a Mid-infrared Echo from the TDE Candidate in the Nucleus of ULIRG F01004-2237

Liming Dou, Tinggui Wang, Lin Yan, Ning Jiang, Chenwei Yang, Roc M. Cutri, Amy Mainzer, Bo Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We present the mid-infrared (MIR) light curves (LCs) of a tidal disruption event candidate in the center of a nearby ultraluminous infrared galaxy F01004-2237 using archival WISE and NEOWISE data from 2010 to 2016. At the peak of the optical flare, F01004-2237 was IR quiescent. About three years later, its MIR fluxes have shown a steady increase, rising by 1.34 and 1.04 mag in 3.4 and 4.6 μm up to the end of 2016. The host-subtracted MIR peak luminosity is 2-3 ×1044 erg s-1. We interpret the MIR LCs as an infrared echo, i.e., dust reprocessed emission of the optical flare. Fitting the MIR LCs using our dust model, we infer a dust torus of the size of a few parsecs at some inclined angle. The derived dust temperatures range from 590-850 K, and the warm dust mass is ∼7 M o. Such a large mass implies that the dust cannot be newly formed. We also derive the UV luminosity of 4-11 ×1044 erg s-1. The inferred total IR energy is 1-2 ×1052 erg, suggesting a large dust covering factor. Finally, our dust model suggests that the long tail of the optical flare could be due to dust scattering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL8
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • black hole physics
  • galaxies: nuclei
  • infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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