Hydrodynamic simulations of the inner accretion flow of Sagittarius A* fuelled by stellar winds

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We present ATHENA++ grid-based, hydrodynamic simulations of accretion on to Sagittarius A* via the stellar winds of the ~30Wolf-Rayet stars within the central parsec of the galactic centre. These simulations spañ4 orders ofmagnitude in radius, reaching all the way down to 300 gravitational radii of the black hole, ~32 times further than in previous work. We reproduce reasonably well the diffuse thermal X-ray emission observed by Chandra in the central parsec. The resulting accretion flow at small radii is a superposition of two components: (1) a moderately unbound, sub-Keplerian, thick, pressure-supported disc that is at most (but not all) times aligned with the clockwise stellar disc, and (2) a bound, low-angular momentum inflow that proceeds primarily along the southern pole of the disc. We interpret this structure as a natural consequence of a few of the innermost stellar winds dominating accretion, which produces a flow with a broad distribution of angular momentum. Including the star S2 in the simulation has a negligible effect on the flow structure. Extrapolating our results from simulations with different inner radii, we find an accretion rate of approximately a few ×10-8M yr-1 at the horizon scale, consistent with constraints based on modelling the observed emission of Sgr A*. The flow structure found here can be used as more realistic initial conditions for horizon scale simulations of Sgr A*.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3544-3563
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Accretion
  • Accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxy: centre
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Rayet
  • Stars: Wolf
  • X-rays: ISM


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