Ab Initio Horizon-scale Simulations of Magnetically Arrested Accretion in Sagittarius A∗ Fed by Stellar Winds

Sean M. Ressler, Christopher J. White, Eliot Quataert, James M. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations of the accretion flow surrounding Sagittarius A∗ that are initialized using larger-scale MHD simulations of the ∼30 Wolf-Rayet (WR) stellar winds in the Galactic center. The properties of the resulting accretion flow on horizon scales are set not by ad hoc initial conditions but by the observationally constrained properties of the WR winds with limited free parameters. For this initial study we assume a non-spinning black hole. Our simulations naturally produce a ∼10-8 M o˙ yr-1 accretion rate, consistent with previous phenomenological estimates. We find that a magnetically arrested flow is formed by the continuous accretion of coherent magnetic field being fed from large radii. Near the event horizon, the magnetic field is so strong that it tilts the gas with respect to the initial angular momentum and concentrates the originally quasi-spherical flow to a narrow disk-like structure. We also present 230 GHz images calculated from our simulations where the inclination angle and physical accretion rate are not free parameters but are determined by the properties of the WR stellar winds. The image morphology is highly time variable. Linear polarization on horizon scales is coherent with weak internal Faraday rotation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume896
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 10 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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