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  1. Abstract

    We present a set of six general relativistic, multifrequency, radiation magnetohydrodynamic simulations of thin accretion disks with different target mass accretion rates around black holes with spins ranging from nonrotating to rapidly spinning. The simulations use theM1closure scheme with 12 independent frequency (or energy) bins ranging logarithmically from 5 × 10−3keV to 5 × 103keV. The multifrequency capability allows us to generate crude spectra and energy-dependent light curves directly from the simulations without a need for special postprocessing. While we generally find roughly thermal spectra with peaks around 1–4 keV, our high-spin cases showed harder-than-expected tails for the soft or thermally dominant state. This leads to radiative efficiencies that are up to five times higher than expected for a Novikov–Thorne disk at the same spin. We attribute these high efficiencies to the high-energy, coronal emission. These coronae mostly occupy the effectively optically thin regions near the inner edges of the disks and also cover or sandwich the inner ∼15GM/c2of the disks.

     
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  2. Abstract We present and analyze a set of three-dimensional, global, general relativistic radiation magnetohydrodynamic simulations of thin, radiation-pressure-dominated accretion disks surrounding a nonrotating, stellar-mass black hole. The simulations are initialized using the Shakura–Sunyaev model with a mass accretion rate of M ̇ = 3 L Edd / c 2 (corresponding to L = 0.17 L Edd ). Our previous work demonstrated that such disks are thermally unstable when accretion is driven by an α -viscosity. In the present work, we test the hypothesis that strong magnetic fields can both drive accretion through magnetorotational instability and restore stability to such disks. We test four initial magnetic field configurations: (1) a zero-net-flux case with a single, radially extended set of magnetic field loops (dipole), (2) a zero-net-flux case with two radially extended sets of magnetic field loops of opposite polarity stacked vertically (quadrupole), (3) a zero-net-flux case with multiple radially concentric rings of alternating polarity (multiloop), and (4) a net-flux, vertical magnetic field configuration (vertical). In all cases, the fields are initially weak, with a gas-to-magnetic pressure ratio ≳100. Based on the results of these simulations, we find that the dipole and multiloop configurations remain thermally unstable like their α -viscosity counterpart, in our case collapsing vertically on the local thermal timescale and never fully recovering. The vertical case, on the other hand, stabilizes and remains so for the duration of our tests (many thermal timescales). The quadrupole case is intermediate, showing signs of both stability and instability. The key stabilizing factor is the ability of specific field configurations to build up and sustain strong, P mag ≳ 0.5 P tot , toroidal fields near the midplane of the disk. We discuss the reasons why certain configurations are able to do this effectively and others are not. We then compare our stable simulations to the standard Shakura–Sunyaev disk. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The magneto-rotational instability (MRI) is the most likely mechanism for transportation of angular momentum and dissipation of energy within hot, ionized accretion discs. This instability is produced through the interactions of a differentially rotating plasma with an embedded magnetic field. Like all substances in nature, the plasma in an accretion disc has the potential to become magnetically polarized when it interacts with the magnetic field. In this paper we study the effect of this magnetic susceptibility, parameterized by χm, on the MRI, specifically within the context of black hole accretion. We find from a linear analysis within the Newtonian limit that the minimum wavelength of the first unstable mode and the wavelength of the fastest growing mode are shorter in paramagnetic (χm > 0) than in diamagnetic (χm < 0) discs, all other parameters being equal. Furthermore, the magnetization parameter (ratio of gas to magnetic pressure) in the saturated state should be smaller when the magnetic susceptibility is positive than when it is negative. We confirm this latter prediction through a set of numerical simulations of magnetically polarized black hole accretion discs. We additionally find that the vertically integrated stress and mass accretion rate are somewhat larger when the disc is paramagnetic than when it is diamagnetic. If astrophysical discs are able to become magnetically polarized to any significant degree, then our results would be relevant to properly interpreting observations. 
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  4. ABSTRACT

    Across black hole (BH) and neutron star (NS) low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs), there appears to be some correlation between certain high- and low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs). In a previous paper, we showed that for BH LMXBs, this could be explained by the simultaneous oscillation and precession of a hot, thick, torus-like corona. In the current work, we extend this idea to NS LMXBs by associating the horizontal branch oscillations (HBOs) with precession and the upper-kiloHertz (ukHz) QPO with vertical epicyclic motion. For the Atoll source 4U 1608-52, the model can match many distinct, simultaneous observations of the HBO and ukHz QPO by varying the inner and outer radius of the torus, while maintaining fixed values for the mass (MNS) and spin (a*) of the NS. The best-fitting values are MNS = 1.38 ± 0.03 M⊙ and a* = 0.325 ± 0.005. By combining these constraints with the measured spin frequency, we are able to obtain an estimate for the moment of inertia of INS = 1.40 ± 0.02 × 1045 g cm2, which places constraints on the equation of state. The model is unable to fit the lower-kHz QPO, but evidence suggests that QPO may be associated with the boundary layer between the accretion flow and the NS surface, which is not treated in this work.

     
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