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Observational signatures of disk and jet misalignment in images of accreting black holes

Chatterjee, K; Younsi, Z; Liska, M; Tchekhovskoy, A; Markoff, S; Yoon, D; Eijnatten, DV; ... Klis, MVD; + view all (2020) Observational signatures of disk and jet misalignment in images of accreting black holes. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 499 (1) pp. 362-378. 10.1093/mnras/staa2718. Green open access

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Abstract

Black hole accretion is one of nature's most efficient energy extraction processes. When gas falls in, a significant fraction of its gravitational binding energy is either converted into radiation or flows outwards in the form of black hole-driven jets and disk-driven winds. Recently, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an Earth-size sub-millimetre radio interferometer, captured the first images of M87's black hole. These images were analysed and interpreted using general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) models of accretion disks with rotation axes aligned with the black hole spin axis. However, since infalling gas is often insensitive to the black hole spin direction, misalignment between accretion disk and black hole spin may be a common occurrence in nature. In this work, we use the general-relativistic radiative transfer (GRRT) code \texttt{BHOSS} to calculate the first synthetic radio images of (highly) tilted disk/jet models generated by our GPU-accelerated GRMHD code \texttt{HAMR}. While the tilt does not have a noticeable effect on the system dynamics beyond a few tens of gravitational radii from the black hole, the warping of the disk and jet can imprint observable signatures in EHT images on smaller scales. Comparing the images from our GRMHD models to the 43 GHz and 230 GHz EHT images of M87, we find that M87 may feature a tilted disk/jet system. Further, tilted disks and jets display significant time variability in the 230 GHz flux that can be further tested by longer-duration EHT observations of M87.

Type: Article
Title: Observational signatures of disk and jet misalignment in images of accreting black holes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa2718
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa2718
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: accretion, accretion discs, black hole physics, MHD, methods: numerical, galaxies: active, galaxies: jets
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112978
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