Letter to the Editor
The effect of disk magnetic fields on the truncation of geometrically thin disks in AGN
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschildstr. 1, 85740 Garching, Germany
Corresponding author: E. Meyer-Hofmeister, emm@ibm-1.MPA-Garching.mpg.de
Accepted: 22 July 2002
We suggest that magnetic fields in the accretion disks of AGN reach into the coronae above and have a profound effect on the mass flow rate in the corona. This strongly affects the location where the accretion flow changes from a geometrically thin disk to a pure vertically extended coronal or advection-dominated accretion flow (ADAF). We show that this can explain the different disk truncation radii in elliptical galaxies and low luminosity AGN with about the same mass flow rate, a discrepancy pointed out by Quataert et al. ([CITE]). Without disk magnetic activity the disk truncation is expected to be uniquely related to the mass flow rate (Meyer et al. [CITE]). Whether dynamo action occurs depends on whether the electrical conductivity measured by a magnetic Reynolds number surpasses a critical value (Gammie & Menou [CITE]). In elliptical galaxies the disk is self-gravitating at the radii where the truncation should occur. It is plausible that instead of a cool disk a “layer of clouds” may form (Shlosman et al. [CITE]; Gammie [CITE]) for which no dynamo action is expected. For low luminosity AGN the magnetic Reynolds number is well above critical. Simple model calculations show that magnetic fields in the underlying disks reduce the strength of the coronal flow and shift the truncation radius significantly inward.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / black hole physics / X-rays: stars / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2002