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Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBH) are expected to exist in globular clusters (GCs) and compact stellar systems (CSS) in general, but none have been conclusively detected. Tidal disruption events (TDEs), where a star is tidally disrupted by the gravitational field of a black hole, have been observed to occur around the supermassive black holes (SMBH) found at the centres of galaxies, and should also arise around IMBHs, especially in the dense stellar cores of CSS's. However, to date none have been observed in such environments. Using data from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) we search for TDEs associated with CSS, but none are found. This non-detection allows us to set an upper limit on the TDE rate in CSS of nTDE,Total⪅10−7CSS−1yr−1 which is two dex. below the observed TDE rate involving SMBH interacting with 1\Msun\ main sequence stars in the nuclei of massive galaxies. We also consider ultra compact dwarfs (UCDs) formed through a tidal stripping process in the surveyed volume. On the assumption these CSS contain SMBH and TDE rates are comparable to current observed optical rates in galactic nuclei ($\approx\num{3.2E-5}\text{gal}^{-1}\text{yr}^{-1}$), we determine an upper limit for the number of UCDs formed through a tidal stripping process in the surveyed volume to be $N_\text{GC, Strip}10^6\Msun$.


Student publication. Original published version available at

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society





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