Global General Relativistic Magnetohydrodynamic Simulation of a Tilted Black Hole Accretion Disk

  • Fragile P
  • Blaes O
  • Anninos P
 et al. 
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This paper presents a continuation of our efforts to numerically study accretion disks that are misaligned (tilted) with respect to the rotation axis of a Kerr black hole. Here we present results of a global numerical simulation which fully incorporates the effects of the black hole spacetime as well as magnetorotational turbulence that is the primary source of angular momentum transport in the flow. This simulation shows dramatic differences from comparable simulations of untilted disks. Accretion onto the hole occurs predominantly through two opposing plunging streams that start from high latitudes with respect to both the black hole and disk midplanes. This is due to the aspherical nature of the gravitational spacetime around the rotating black hole. These plunging streams start from a larger radius than would be expected for an untilted disk. In this regard, the tilted black hole effectively acts like an untilted black hole of lesser spin. Throughout the duration of the simulation, the main body of the disk remains tilted with respect to the symmetry plane of the black hole; thus, there is no indication of a Bardeen-Petterson effect in the disk at large. The torque of the black hole instead principally causes a global precession of the main disk body. In this simulation, the precession has a frequency of 3(Msolar/M) Hz, a value consistent with many observed low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations. However, this value is strongly dependent on the size of the disk, so this frequency can be expected to vary over a large range.

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  • P. Chris Fragile

  • Omer M. Blaes

  • Peter Anninos

  • Jay D. Salmonson

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