Read at Ars Technica
Tidal disruption events (TDEs), where supermassive black holes tear apart stars, are thought to occur about once every 10,000 to 100,000 years in any given galaxy. These events can be detected by the immense amounts of energy they release. An international team of researchers discovered 18 TDEs that were missed by previous searches by looking for them in the infrared, which is less obscured by dust compared to optical and X-ray wavelengths.
Many TDEs can be found in dusty galaxies. Dust obscures many wavelengths of radiation, from optical to X-rays, but long infrared wavelengths are much less susceptible to scattering and absorption. When the team checked galaxies in the infrared, they found 18 TDEs that had eluded astronomers before.
Until now, most TDEs were detected in the optical and X-ray bands. These methods can still detect some TDEs, but not all of them, as the short wavelengths of optical and X-ray radiation can be easily scattered and absorbed by dust in dust-rich galaxies. By searching for TDEs in the infrared using data from NASA's WISE and NEOWISE missions, the researchers were able to uncover 18 TDEs that had previously gone unnoticed.
Most of the TDEs discovered by the research team had not previously been detected in the optical band by the WISE or NEOWISE infrared observatory mission. When they looked for these events in data from NASA's WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) and NEOWISE missions, along with data from other mission