The Effects of Tilt on the Time Variability of Millimeter and Infrared Emission from Sagittarius A

Christopher J. White, Eliot Quataert

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4 Scopus citations


Using a combination of general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamics simulations and ray tracing of synchrotron emission, we study the effect of modest (24°) misalignment between the black hole spin and plasma angular momentum, focusing on the variability of total flux, image centroids, and image sizes. We consider both millimeter and infrared (IR) observables motivated by Sagittarius A∗ (Sgr A∗), though our results apply more generally to optically thin flows. For most quantities, tilted accretion is more variable, primarily due to a significantly hotter and denser coronal region well off the disk midplane. We find (1) a 150% increase in millimeter light-curve variability when adding tilt to the flow; (2) the tilted image centroid in the millimeter shifts on a scale of 3.7 μas over 28 hr (5000 gravitational times) for some electron temperature models; (3) tilted disk image diameters in the millimeter can be 10% larger (52 versus 47 μas) than those of aligned disks at certain viewing angles; (4) the tilted models produce significant IR flux, similar to that seen in Sgr A∗, with comparable or even greater variability than observed; and (5) for some electron models, the tilted IR centroid moves by more than 50 μas over several hours, in a similar fashion to the centroid motion detected by the GRAVITY interferometer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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