Physics Colloquium: Watson Memorial Colloquium - "Super Eddington Black Hole Accretion Flows"

Speaker Jim Stone, Princeton University
Date: 10/18/2017
Time: 4 p.m.

141 Loomis

Event Contact: Stephanie Johansson

Department of Physics

Event Type: Seminar/Symposium

Super Eddington accretion occurs in many systems, such as the inner regions of quasars and luminous AGN, ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs), and tidal disruption events. 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 medium surrounding the black hole, a process likely to be important in controlling galaxy formation in the case of AGN. New results from a study of the magnetohydrodynamics of luminous accretion flows, in which radiation pressure dominates, will be presented.

We have developed new numerical methods based on a formal solution of the time-dependent radiation transfer equations to study this regime. Our numerical simulations reveal new effects that require extension of standard thin-disk models. We discuss these results, and their implications for the astrophysics of accreting black holes.

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