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  1. Abstract Magnetic reconnection can power bright, rapid flares originating from the inner magnetosphere of accreting black holes. We conduct extremely high-resolution (5376 × 2304 × 2304 cells) general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamics simulations, capturing plasmoid-mediated reconnection in a 3D magnetically arrested disk for the first time. We show that an equatorial, plasmoid-unstable current sheet forms in a transient, nonaxisymmetric, low-density magnetosphere within the inner few Schwarzschild radii. Magnetic flux bundles escape from the event horizon through reconnection at the universal plasmoid-mediated rate in this current sheet. The reconnection feeds on the highly magnetized plasma in the jets and heats the plasma that endsmore »up trapped in flux bundles to temperatures proportional to the jet’s magnetization. The escaped flux bundles can complete a full orbit as low-density hot spots, consistent with Sgr A* observations by the GRAVITY interferometer. Reconnection near the horizon produces sufficiently energetic plasma to explain flares from accreting black holes, such as the TeV emission observed from M87. The drop in the mass accretion rate during the flare and the resulting low-density magnetosphere make it easier for very-high-energy photons produced by reconnection-accelerated particles to escape. The extreme-resolution results in a converged plasmoid-mediated reconnection rate that directly determines the timescales and properties of the flare.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT

    Accreting black holes produce collimated outflows, or jets, that traverse many orders of magnitude in distance, accelerate to relativistic velocities, and collimate into tight opening angles. Of these, perhaps the least understood is jet collimation due to the interaction with the ambient medium. In order to investigate this interaction, we carried out axisymmetric general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of jets produced by a large accretion disc, spanning over 5 orders of magnitude in time and distance, at an unprecedented resolution. Supported by such a disc, the jet attains a parabolic shape, similar to the M87 galaxy jet, and the productmore »of the Lorentz factor and the jet half-opening angle, γθ ≪ 1, similar to values found from very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) jets; this suggests extended discs in AGNs. We find that the interaction between the jet and the ambient medium leads to the development of pinch instabilities, which produce significant radial and lateral variability across the jet by converting magnetic and kinetic energy into heat. Thus pinched regions in the jet can be detectable as radiating hotspots and may provide an ideal site for particle acceleration. Pinching also causes gas from the ambient medium to become squeezed between magnetic field lines in the jet, leading to enhanced mass loading and deceleration of the jet to non-relativistic speeds, potentially contributing to the spine-sheath structure observed in AGN outflows.

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  3. Context. Realistic synthetic observations of theoretical source models are essential for our understanding of real observational data. In using synthetic data, one can verify the extent to which source parameters can be recovered and evaluate how various data corruption effects can be calibrated. These studies are the most important when proposing observations of new sources, in the characterization of the capabilities of new or upgraded instruments, and when verifying model-based theoretical predictions in a direct comparison with observational data. Aims. We present the SYnthetic Measurement creator for long Baseline Arrays ( SYMBA ), a novel synthetic data generation pipeline formore »Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations. SYMBA takes into account several realistic atmospheric, instrumental, and calibration effects. Methods. We used SYMBA to create synthetic observations for the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a millimetre VLBI array, which has recently captured the first image of a black hole shadow. After testing SYMBA with simple source and corruption models, we study the importance of including all corruption and calibration effects, compared to the addition of thermal noise only. Using synthetic data based on two example general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) model images of M 87, we performed case studies to assess the image quality that can be obtained with the current and future EHT array for different weather conditions. Results. Our synthetic observations show that the effects of atmospheric and instrumental corruptions on the measured visibilities are significant. Despite these effects, we demonstrate how the overall structure of our GRMHD source models can be recovered robustly with the EHT2017 array after performing calibration steps, which include fringe fitting, a priori amplitude and network calibration, and self-calibration. With the planned addition of new stations to the EHT array in the coming years, images could be reconstructed with higher angular resolution and dynamic range. In our case study, these improvements allowed for a distinction between a thermal and a non-thermal GRMHD model based on salient features in reconstructed images.« less