FORGE’D IN FIRE II: THE FORMATION OF MAGNETICALLY-DOMINATED QUASAR ACCRETION DISKS FROM COSMOLOGICAL INITIAL CONDITIONS

Philip F. Hopkins, Jonathan Squire, Kung Yi Su, Ulrich P. Steinwandel, Kyle Kremer, Yanlong Shi, Michael Y. Grudić, Sarah Wellons, Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, Norman Murray, Eliot Quataert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a companion paper, we reported the formation of quasar accretion disks with inflow rates ∼ 10 M yr−1 down to <300 Schwarzschild radii from cosmological radiation-magneto-thermochemical-hydrodynamical galaxy and star formation simulations. We see the formation of a well-defined, steady-state accretion disk which is stable against star formation at sub-pc scales. The disks are optically thick, with radiative cooling balancing accretion, but with properties that are distinct from those assumed in most previous accretion disk models. The pressure is strongly dominated by (primarily toroidal) magnetic fields, with a plasma β ∼ 10−4 even in the disk midplane. They are qualitatively distinct from magnetically elevated or arrested disks. The disks are strongly turbulent, with trans-Alfvénic and highly super-sonic turbulence, and balance this via a cooling time that is short compared to the disk dynamical time, and can sustain highly super-Eddington accretion rates. Their surface and 3D densities at ∼ 103 −105 gravitational radii are much lower than in a Shakura-Sunyaev disk, with important implications for their thermo-chemistry and stability. We show how the magnetic field strengths and geometries arise from rapid advection of flux with the inflow from much weaker galaxy-scale fields in these “flux-frozen” disks, and how this stabilizes the disk and gives rise to efficient torques. Re-simulating without magnetic fields produces catastrophic fragmentation with a vastly smaller, lower-ṀṀ Shakura-Sunyaev-like disk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Journal of Astrophysics
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion disks
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • quasars: general
  • quasars: supermassive black holes

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