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  • Accretion onto the Massive Black Hole in the Galactic CenterEliot Quataert(UC Berkeley)

  • Why focus on the Galactic Center?Best evidence for a BH (stellar orbits)

    M 4x106 MLargest BH on the sky (horizon 8 ")

    VLBI imaging of horizonX-ray & IR variability probes gas at ~ Rs

    Extreme low luminosity (L ~ 10-9 LEDD) illuminates accretion physicsMost detailed constraints on ambient conditions around BH

    Feeding the (rather weak, and actually not that impressive) monsterStellar dynamics & star formation in Galactic NucleiBinary BHsUseful laboratory for other BH systems

    GR!Genzel et al.;also Ghez et al.

  • OutlineHow does the gas get from the surrounding medium to the BH?

    What determines the accretionrate, radiative efficiency, andobserved emission from the BH?????

  • Fuel SupplyIR (VLT) image of central ~ pcChandra image of central ~ 3 pcGenzel et al.Baganoff et al.Hot x-ray emitting gas(T = 1-2 keV; n = 100 cm-3) produced via shocked stellar windsYoung cluster of massive stars in the central ~ pc loses ~ 10-3 M yr-1 ( 2-10" from BH) 1" = 0.04 pc 105 RS @ GC

  • 1D Simulation of Gas Flow in Central ParsecCluster Wind + Accretion onto BH~ 1% of gas flows in towards BH ( 10-5 M yr-1) ~ 99% of gas driven away in a cluster wind( 10-3 M yr-1)Radial VelocityBondiAccretionRadiusBHs sphere of influence

    observed & T

  • Extended X-ray source coincident w/ the BH is asignature of gas being gravitationally captured from the surrounding star cluster (ala Bondi)

    Predicted X-ray Surface BrightnessCompared to Observations

  • Total Luminosity ~ 1036 ergs s-1 ~ 100 L ~ 10-9 LEDD ~ 10-6 M c2ExtensiveLinear & CircularPolarizationData In Radio

    ChandraXmmKeckVLTVLABIMAScubaSMAX-rayFlaresInferred efficiency

  • Arguments Against Accretion at smaller radii proceeding via an Optically Thick, Geometrically Thin Disk, as in Luminous AGNinferred low efficiency

    where is the expected

    blackbody emission?

    observed gas on ~ 1 scales

    is primarily hot & spherical,not disk-like (w/ tcool >> tflow)

    absence of stellar eclipses

    argues against >> 1 disk (Cuadra et al. 2003)

  • Radiatively Inefficient Accretion FlowAccretion with angular momentum in which

    Hot optically thin collisionless plasma near BH

    Tp ~ 1012 K Te ~ 1010-1011 K(particles likely nonthermal)Rotating w/ ~ K butgeometrically thick(e.g., Ichimaru 1977; Rees et al. 1984; Narayan & Yi 1994)grav. pot. energy stored as thermalenergy instead of being radiated

  • Initial Models (ADAFs) had

    Very little mass supplied at large radii accretes into the black hole (outflows/convection suppress accretion)

    (e.g., Narayan & Yi 1994)Low efficiency because electron heating is assumed to be very inefficient (electrons radiate, not protons)(e.g., Igumenschev & Abramowicz 1999, 2000; Stone et al. 1999; Blandford & Begelman 1999; Narayan et al. 2000; Quataert & Gruzinov 2000; Stone & Pringle 2001; Hawley & Balbus 2002; Igumenschev et al. 2003; Pen et al. 2003)very little radiation because very little gas makes it to the BHEfficiency ~ 10-6

  • Numerical SimulationsHydrodynamicMHD(Igumenshchev & Abramowicz 1999, 2000; Stone et al. 1999)(Stone & Pringle 2001; Hawley & Balbus 2002; Igumenshchev et al. 2003)

    Theoretical Aside:If magnetic field is weak ( > ~ 10), convection dominates flow dynamicsIf magnetic field is stronger ( ~ 1), MHD turbulence dominates(Narayan, Quataert, Igumenshchev, & Abramowicz 2002)

  • Are the Simulations Relevant toan Intrinsically Collisionless System?

    Perhaps, but

    Physics of angular momentum transport is different in collisionless plasmas

    Kinetic simulations in progress kineticMHDKinetic theoryMHDGrowth RateWavevectorQuataert, Dorland, & Hammett 2002Magnetorotational instability

  • Preliminary Nonlinear Kinetic SimsMHDKineticSharma, Hammett, Quataert, & StoneMagnetic EnergyTime (Orbital Periods)

    Kinetic sims initiallysaturate at muchlower field strength(due to anisotropicpressure tensor)

    Further nonlinearevolution unclear(work in progress )

  • very little mass available at large radii accretes into the BH

    low accretion rate confirmed by detection of ~ 10% linear polarization in the radio emission from the Galactic Center

    Faraday Rotation (< 106 rad/m2) constrains the plasma density near the BH(QG 2000; Agol 2000; Bower et al. 2003)Overall Energetics

  • X-ray Emission: Quiescent + FlaresSeveral times a day X-ray flux increases by a factorof ~ few-50 for ~ an hour

    timescale emission arisesclose to BH ~ 10 RSOrbital period at 3RS = 28 min

  • Variable IR Emission(Genzel et al. 2003; Ghez et al. 2003)Time (min)Light crossing time of Horizon: 0.5 minOrbital period at 3RS (last stable orbit for a = 0): 28 minGenzel et al. 2003

  • Accretion flow is highly time-dependent, with fluctuations in density, temperature, dissipation of magnetic & kinetic energy, etc.

    suggests observed variability due to turbulent plasma very close to horizonHawley

  • Analogy: Solar CoronaSOHO Movie of Active Regions (UV)(Solar & Heliospheric Observatory)

  • Synchrotron Emission from MHD Simulations1mm/300 GHz (thermal; optically thin)Goldston, Quataert, & Igumenshchev 2004

  • A Day in the Life of Sgr A*Factors of ~ 2-5 variability over several hours

  • Final Ingredient: Particle Accelerationassume that close to BH ~ 10% of electron thermal energy transiently dumped into a power law tail

    IR: synchrotron from ~ 103 e-X-rays: synch. from ~ 105 e-

    Prominence of nonthermal emission unsurprising because of collisionless magnetized two-temperature turbulent plasma (in GR!)QuiescentFlares

  • Why our Galactic Center?Key is L
  • Inward Bound

    GC horizon: RS 1012 cm 4x10-13 rad 8 -arcsec

    GC is largest BH on the sky!

    can plausibly be directly imaged with VLBI at mm s in the next ~ decade

    Size of Sgr A*Bower et al. 2004Simple extrapolationSize Horizon as 1mmObserved Size (RS)Wavelength (cm)

  • Inward Bound

    30 RSM87 at 7 mm (RS 2 x smaller on sky)Biretta et al. 1999 Shep Doeleman &collaborators haveachieved 34 at 1.3 mm on 3C279 (~ 4RS for Sgr A*)

  • Toy Models Predict a True Black Hole(light bending, grav. redshift, photons captured by BH, suppression in observed flux from near the BH)Falcke et al. 2000; based on Bardeen 1973 10 RS

  • Work in Progress: RealisticImages from SimulationsNewtonian: No GR Transport YetEncouraging: emissionstrongly peaked near BH where GReffects important

    Emission from verysmall radii also impliedby rapid variability

    10 RS

  • A Concordance Model of Sgr A*Stars supply ~ 10-3 M yr-1 to the central pc of the GC

    ~ 10-5 M yr-1 captured by the BH

    supported by extended X-ray source coincident w/ BH

    ~ 10-8 M yr-1 (or perhaps less) accretes onto the BH via a hot radiatively inefficient accretion flow (efficiency > 10-3)

    most mass driven away rather than accreting onto BH supported by detection of polarization in mm emission

    Variable IR & X-ray Emission

    nonthermal synchrotron radiation from accelerated electronsunique probe of gas dynamics and particle accel. very close to BHencouraging for project of imaging horizon of BH

    Initial Radiatively Inefficient Accretion Models (ADAFs) had