Radiatively efficient magnetized Bondi accretion

Andrew J. Cunningham, Christopher F. McKee, Richard I. Klein, Mark R. Krumholz, Romain Teyssier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We have carried out a numerical study of the effect of large-scale magnetic fields on the rate of accretion from a uniform, isothermal gas onto a resistive, stationary point mass. Only mass, not magnetic flux, accretes onto the point mass. The simulations for this study avoid complications arising from boundary conditions by keeping the boundaries far from the accreting object. Our simulations leverage adaptive refinement methodology to attain high spatial fidelity close to the accreting object. Our results are particularly relevant to the problem of star formation from a magnetized molecular cloud in which thermal energy is radiated away on timescales much shorter than the dynamical timescale. Contrary to the adiabatic case, our simulations show convergence toward a finite accretion rate in the limit in which the radius of the accreting object vanishes, regardless of magnetic field strength. For very weak magnetic fields, the accretion rate first approaches the Bondi value and then drops by a factor of ∼2 as magnetic flux builds up near the point mass. For strong magnetic fields, the steady-state accretion rate is reduced by a factor of ∼ 0.2 β1/2 compared to the Bondi value, where β is the ratio of the gas pressure to the magnetic pressure. We give a simple expression for the accretion rate as a function of the magnetic field strength. Approximate analytic results are given in the Appendices for both time-dependent accretion in the limit of weak magnetic fields and steady-state accretion for the case of strong magnetic fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • stars: formation


Dive into the research topics of 'Radiatively efficient magnetized Bondi accretion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this