Volume 526, February 2011
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||13 January 2011|
The growth of supermassive black holes fed by accretion disks
Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Observatoire de la Côte
d’Azur, Laboratoire Cassiopée, UMR 6202, BP 4229 06304 Nice Cedex
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: 20 May 2010
Accepted: 3 September 2010
Context. Supermassive black holes are probably present in the centre of the majority of the galaxies. There is consensus that these exotic objects are formed by the growth of seeds either by mass accretion from a circumnuclear disk and/or by coalescences during merger episodes.
Aims. The mass fraction of the disk captured by the central object and the related timescale are still open questions, as is how these quantities depend on parameters, such as the initial mass of the disk or the seed, or on the angular momentum transport mechanism. This paper addresses these particular aspects of the accretion disk evolution and the growth of seeds.
Methods. The time-dependent hydrodynamic equations were solved numerically for an axisymmetric disk in which the gravitational potential includes contributions from both the central object and the disk itself. The numerical code is based on a Eulerian formalism, using a finite difference method of second-order, according to the Van Leer upwind algorithm on a staggered mesh.
Results. The present simulations indicate that seeds capture about a half of the initial disk mass, a result weakly dependent on model parameters. The timescales required for accreting 50% of the disk mass are in the range 130–540 Myr, depending on the adopted parameters. These timescales can explain the presence of bright quasars at z ~ 6.5. Moreover, at the end of the disk evolution, a “torus-like” geometry develops, offering a natural explanation for the presence of these structures in the central regions of AGNs, representing an additional support to the unified model.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / hydrodynamics / radiation mechanisms: general / turbulence / Galaxy: formation / black hole physics
© ESO, 2011
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