Galactic vs. extragalactic origin of the peculiar transient SCP 06F6

Noam Soker, Adam Frankowski, Amit Kashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We study four scenarios for the SCP 06F6 transient event that was announced recently. Some of these were previously briefly discussed as plausible models for SCP 06F6, in particular with the claimed detection of a z = 0.143 cosmological redshift of a Swan spectrum of a carbon rich envelope. We adopt this value of z for extragalactic scenarios. We cannot rule out any of these models, but can rank them from most to least preferred. Our favorite model is a tidal disruption of a CO white dwarf (WD) by an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH). To account for the properties of the SCP 06F6 event, we have to assume the presence of a strong disk wind that was not included in previous numerical simulations. If the IMBH is the central BH of a galaxy, this explains the non-detection of a bright galaxy in the direction of SCP 06F6. Our second favorite scenario is a type Ia-like SN that exploded inside the dense wind of a carbon star. The carbon star is the donor star of the exploded WD. Our third favorite model is a Galactic source of an asteroid that collided with a WD. Such a scenario was discussed in the past as the source of dusty disks around WDs, but no predictions exist regarding the appearance of such an event. Our least favorite model is of a core collapse SN. The only way we can account for the properties of SCP 06F6 with a core collapse SN is if we assume the occurrence of a rare type of binary interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalNew Astronomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Glennys R. Farrar, Stephan Rosswog, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Giuseppe Lodato for helpful discussions. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation, and from the Asher Space Research Institute in the Technion.


  • (stars:) White dwarfs
  • Stars: carbon
  • Stars: individual (SCP 06F6)
  • Supernovae: general


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