James Stone: Numerical Models of Black Hole Accretion Flows

Webinar 126

James Stone, Institute for Advanced Study, USA

Alejandro Cárdenas-Avendaño, Konrad Lorenz & Princeton University

Accretion onto black holes powers the most luminous objects in the Universe, such as quasars and active galactic nuclei (AGN). Understanding such flows is important not only for interpreting the spectra and variability of these sources, but also to predict the rate of growth of black holes in the early universe, and to quantify energy and momentum feedback into the surrounding intergalactic medium, a process likely to be important in galaxy formation. Numerical methods have emerged as a powerful tool for the study of the nonlinear regime of magnetohydrodynmic (MHD) flows, including turbulence in a radiation-dominated plasma such as occurs in accretion. I will summarize recent progress on developing and applying numerical methods to the study of the MHD of luminous accretion flows, in which radiation pressure dominates the dynamics. Our results reveal new physical effects, such as turbulent transport of radiation energy, that require extension of standard thin-disk models.

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