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Title: Radiative relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of neutron star column accretion in Cartesian geometry

High luminosity accretion on to a strongly magnetized neutron star results in a radiation pressure dominated, magnetically confined accretion column. We investigate the dynamics of these columns using 2D radiative relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations, restricting consideration to modest accretion rates where the height of the column is low enough that Cartesian geometry can be employed. The column structure is dynamically maintained through high-frequency oscillations of the accretion shock at ≃ 10–25 kHz. These oscillations arise because it is necessary to redistribute the power released at the accretion shock through bulk vertical motions, both to balance the cooling and to provide vertical pressure support against gravity. Sideways cooling always dominates the loss of internal energy. In addition to the vertical oscillations, photon bubbles form in our simulations and add additional spatial complexity to the column structure. They are not themselves responsible for the oscillations, and they do not appear to affect the oscillation period. However, they enhance the vertical transport of radiation and increase the oscillation amplitude in luminosity. The time-averaged column structure in our simulations resembles the trends in standard 1D stationary models, the main difference being that the time-averaged height of the shock front is lower because of the higher more » cooling efficiency of the 2D column shape.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 4371-4390
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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