Magnetically modified spherical accretion in GRMHD: Reconnection-driven convection and jet propagation

S. M. Ressler, E. Quataert, C. J. White, O. Blaes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We present 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of zero angular momentum accretion around a rapidly rotating black hole, modified by the presence of initially uniform magnetic fields. We consider several angles between the magnetic field direction and the black hole spin. In the resulting flows, the mid-plane dynamics are governed by magnetic reconnection-driven turbulence in a magnetically arrested (or a nearly arrested) state. Electromagnetic jets with outflow efficiencies ∼10-200 per cent occupy the polar regions, reaching several hundred gravitational radii before they dissipate due to the kink instability. The jet directions fluctuate in time and can be tilted by as much as ∼30 - with respect to black hole spin, but this tilt does not depend strongly on the tilt of the initial magnetic field. A jet forms even when there is no initial net vertical magnetic flux since turbulent, horizon-scale fluctuations can generate a net vertical field locally. Peak jet power is obtained for an initial magnetic field tilted by 40 - -80 - with respect to the black hole spin because this maximizes the amount of magnetic flux that can reach the black hole. These simulations may be a reasonable model for low luminosity black hole accretion flows such as Sgr A∗ or M87.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6076-6095
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • Convection
  • Galaxy: centre
  • MHD
  • Magnetic reconnection


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