Accretion of low angular momentum material onto black holes: radiation properties of axisymmetric MHD flows
N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Bartycka 18, 00-716, Warsaw, Poland e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Physics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
3 3.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Accepted: 28 June 2007
Context.Numerical simulations of MHD accretion flows in the vicinity of a supermasssive black hole provide useful insights in to the problem of why and how systems – such as the Galactic center – are underluminous and variable. In particular, the simulations indicate that low angular-momentum accretion flow is highly variable both quantitatively and qualitatively. This variability and a relatively low mass-accretion rate are caused by interplay between a rotationally supported torus, its outflow, and a nearly non-rotating inflow.
Aims. To investigate the applicability of such flows to real objects, we examine the dynamical MHD studies with computations of the time-dependent radiation spectra predicted by the simulations.
Methods. We calculated the synthetic broadband spectra of accretion flows using Monte Carlo techniques. Our method computes the plasma electron temperature allowing for pressure work, ion-electron coupling, radiative cooling, and advection. The radiation spectra are calculated by taking thermal synchrotron and bremsstrahlung radiation, self absorption, and Comptonization processes into account. We also explored the effects of non-thermal electrons. We applied this method to calculating spectra predicted by the time-dependent model of an axisymmetic MHD flow accreting onto a black hole presented by Proga and Begelman.
Results.Our calculations show that variability in an accretion flow is not always reflected in the corresponding spectra, at least not in all wavelengths. We find no one-to-one correspondence between the accretion state and the predicted spectrum. For example, we find that two states with different properties – such as the geometry and accretion rate – could have relatively similar spectra. However, we also find two very different states with very different spectra. The existence of nonthermal radiation may be needed to explain X-ray flaring because thermal bremsstrahlung, dominates X-ray emission, is produced at relatively large radii where the flow changes are small and slow.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / radiation mechanisms: general / radiative transfer
© ESO, 2007