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Astrophysics > High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

Title: Relativistic Viscous Radiation Hydrodynamic Simulations of Geometrically Thin Disks: I. Thermal and Other Instabilities

Abstract: We present results from two-dimensional, general relativistic, viscous, radiation hydrodynamic numerical simulations of Shakura-Sunyaev thin disks accreting onto stellar mass Schwarzschild black holes. We consider cases on both the gas- and radiation-pressure-dominated branches of the thermal equilibrium curve, with mass accretion rates spanning the range from $\dot{M} = 0.01 L_\mathrm{Edd}/c^2$ to $10 L_\mathrm{Edd}/c^2$. The simulations directly test the stability of this standard disk model on the different branches. We find clear evidence of thermal instability for all radiation-pressure-dominated disks, resulting universally in the vertical collapse of the disks, which in some cases then settle onto the stable, gas-pressure-dominated branch. Although these results are consistent with decades-old theoretical predictions, they appear to be in conflict with available observational data from black hole X-ray binaries. We also find evidence for a radiation-pressure-driven instability that breaks the unstable disks up into alternating rings of high and low surface density on a timescale comparable to the thermal collapse. Since radiation is included self-consistently in the simulations, we are able to calculate lightcurves and power density spectra (PDS). For the most part, we measure radiative efficiencies (ratio of luminosity to mass accretion rate) close to 6%, as expected for a non-rotating black hole. The PDS appear as broken power laws, with a break typically around 100 Hz. There is no evidence of significant excess power at any frequencies, i.e. no quasi-periodic oscillations are observed.
Comments: 16 pages, 15 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ
Subjects: High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (astro-ph.HE)
Cite as: arXiv:1803.06423 [astro-ph.HE]
  (or arXiv:1803.06423v1 [astro-ph.HE] for this version)

Submission history

From: Patrick Christopher Fragile [view email]
[v1] Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:00:42 GMT (2511kb,D)