skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "White, Christopher J."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. ABSTRACT

    In general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations, accreted magnetic flux on the black hole horizon episodically decays, during which magnetic reconnection heats up the plasma near the horizon, potentially powering high-energy flares like those observed in M87* and Sgr A*. We study the mm observational counterparts of such flaring episodes in very high resolution GRMHD simulations. The change in 230 GHz flux during the expected high energy flares depends primarily on the efficiency of accelerating γ ≳ 100 (Te ≳ 1011 K) electrons. For models in which the electrons are heated to Te ∼ 1011 K during flares, the hot plasma produced by reconnection significantly enhances 230 GHz emission and increases the size of the 230 GHz image. By contrast, for models in which the electrons are heated to higher temperatures (which we argue are better motivated), the reconnection-heated plasma is too hot to produce significant 230 GHz synchrotron emission, and the 230 GHz flux decreases during high energy flares. We do not find a significant change in the mm polarization during flares as long as the emission is Faraday thin. We also present expectations for the ring-shaped image as observed by the Event Horizon Telescope during flares, as well as multiwavelength synchrotron spectra. Our results highlight several limitations of standard post-processing prescriptions for the electron temperature in GRMHD simulations. We also discuss the implications of our results for current and future observations of flares in Sgr A*, M87*, and related systems. Appendices contain detailed convergence studies with respect to resolution and plasma magnetization.

     
    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT

    We study the observational signatures of magnetically arrested black hole accretion with non-rotating inflow on to a rotating black hole; we consider a range of angles between the black hole spin and the initial magnetic field orientation. We compare the results of our general relativistic magneto-hydrodynamic simulations to more commonly used rotating initial conditions and to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of M87. We find that the mm intensity images, polarization images, and synchrotron emission spectra are very similar among the different simulations when post-processed with the same electron temperature model; observational differences due to different electron temperature models are significantly larger than those due to the different realizations of magnetically arrested accretion. The orientation of the mm synchrotron polarization is particularly insensitive to the initial magnetic field orientation, the electron temperature model, and the rotation of the inflowing plasma. The largest difference among the simulations with different initial rotation and magnetic tilt is in the strength and stability of the jet; spherical inflow leads to kink-unstable jets. We discuss the implications of our results for current and future EHT observations and for theoretical models of event-horizon-scale black hole accretion.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Using a combination of general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamics simulations and ray tracing of synchrotron emission, we study the effect of modest (24°) misalignment between the black hole spin and plasma angular momentum, focusing on the variability of total flux, image centroids, and image sizes. We consider both millimeter and infrared (IR) observables motivated by Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), though our results apply more generally to optically thin flows. For most quantities, tilted accretion is more variable, primarily due to a significantly hotter and densercoronalregion well off the disk midplane. We find (1) a 150% increase in millimeter light-curve variability when adding tilt to the flow; (2) the tilted image centroid in the millimeter shifts on a scale of 3.7μas over 28 hr (5000 gravitational times) for some electron temperature models; (3) tilted disk image diameters in the millimeter can be 10% larger (52 versus 47μas) than those of aligned disks at certain viewing angles; (4) the tilted models produce significant IR flux, similar to that seen in Sgr A*, with comparable or even greater variability than observed; and (5) for some electron models, the tilted IR centroid moves by more than 50μas over several hours, in a similar fashion to the centroid motion detected by the GRAVITY interferometer.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    In order to address the generation of neutron star magnetic fields, with particular focus on the dichotomy between magnetars and radio pulsars, we consider the properties of dynamos as inferred from other astrophysical systems. With sufficiently low (modified) Rossby number, convective dynamos are known to produce dipole-dominated fields whose strength scales with convective flux, and we argue that these expectations should apply to the convective protoneutron stars (PNSs) at the centers of core-collapse supernovae. We analyze a suite of three-dimensional simulations of core collapse, featuring a realistic equation of state and full neutrino transport, in this context. All our progenitor models, ranging from 9Mto 25M, including one with initial rotation, have sufficiently vigorous PNS convection to generate dipole fields of order ∼1015Gauss, if the modified Rossby number resides in the critical range. Thus, the magnetar/radio pulsar dichotomy may arise naturally in part from the distribution of core rotation rates in massive stars.

     
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)