General relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of magnetically choked accretion flows around black holes

  • Mckinney J
  • Tchekhovskoy A
  • Blandford R
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Black hole (BH) accretion flows and jets are qualitatively affected by the presence of ordered magnetic fields. We study fully three-dimensional global general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of radially extended and thick (height $H$ to cylindrical radius $R$ ratio of $|H/R|\sim 0.2--1$) accretion flows around BHs with various dimensionless spins ($a/M$, with BH mass $M$) and with initially toroidally-dominated ($\phi$-directed) and poloidally-dominated ($R-z$ directed) magnetic fields. Firstly, for toroidal field models and BHs with high enough $|a/M|$, coherent large-scale (i.e. $\gg H$) dipolar poloidal magnetic flux patches emerge, thread the BH, and generate transient relativistic jets. Secondly, for poloidal field models, poloidal magnetic flux readily accretes through the disk from large radii and builds-up to a natural saturation point near the BH. For sufficiently high $|a/M|$ or low $|H/R|$ the polar magnetic field compresses the inflow into a geometrically thin highly non-axisymmetric "magnetically choked accretion flow" (MCAF) within which the standard linear magneto-rotational instability is suppressed. The condition of a highly-magnetized state over most of the horizon is optimal for the Blandford-Znajek mechanism that generates persistent relativistic jets with $\gtrsim 100$% efficiency for $|a/M|\gtrsim 0.9$. A magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz unstable magnetospheric interface forms between the compressed inflow and bulging jet magnetosphere, which drives a new jet-disk quasi-periodic oscillation (JD-QPO) mechanism. The high-frequency QPO has spherical harmonic $|m|=1$ mode period of $\tau\sim 70GM/c^3$ for $a/M\sim 0.9$ with coherence quality factors $Q\gtrsim 10$. [abridged]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • Gravitation
  • Hydrodynamics
  • MHD
  • Methods: numerical

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  • Jonathan C. Mckinney

  • Alexander Tchekhovskoy

  • Roger D. Blandford

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