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Title:The Magnetic Snare of a Black Hole
Author(s):Ryan, Ben
Contributor(s):Shiokawa, Hotaka and Chandra, Mani
Abstract:A gaseous disk flowing around a black hole is safe from oblivion for the same reason that the Earth does not fall into the sun. However, if the gas is a magnetized plasma of charged particles, interplay between the magnetic field and rotation of the disk excites what is known as the magnetorotational instability, which causes the plasma to become turbulent and fall into the black hole. The dynamics of a plasma near a black hole are governed by differential equations constructed on the curved spacetime of general relativity, Einsteins renowned theory of gravitation. These equations cannot be solved by hand, and therefore one must resort to computer simulations. In this set of rendered slices of data from our groups relativistic fluid code, the plasma becomes turbulent due to this instability in successive counterclockwise slices. The smooth initial condition at the right, which would do nothing in the absence of magnetic fields, begins losing plasma to the black hole as it develops turbulence. This basic physical mechanism is fundamental to the behaviour of black hole systems, such as the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, the primary focus of our research group.
Issue Date:2014-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Ben Ryan
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-14

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