AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 17 Galaxies Including Our Own
Oral, Monday, May 31, 2004, 10:00-11:30am, 710/712

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[17.01] Electron Acceleration around the Supermassive Black Hole at the Galactic Center

S. Liu (Dept. of Physics, CSSA, Stanford University), V. Petrosian (Dept. of Phys. and Applied Phys, CSSA, Stanford University), F. Melia (Dept. of Phys. and Steward Observatory, University of Arizona)

The recent detection of variable infrared emission from Sagittarius A*, combined with its previously observed flare activity in X-rays, provides compelling evidence that at least a portion of this object's emission is produced by nonthermal electrons. We show here that acceleration of electrons by plasma wave turbulence in hot gases near the black hole's event horizon can not only account for Sgr A*'s emission in the quiescent state at mm and shorter wavelengths, but it can also produce infrared and X-ray flares, induced either via an enhancement of the mass accretion rate onto the black hole or by a reorganization of the magnetic field coupled to the accreting gas. These processes produce distinct spectra that may be compared with future coordinated multi-wavelength observations to test the model. We further suggest that the diffusion of high energy electrons away from the acceleration site toward larger radii might be able to account for the observed characteristics of Sgr A*'s emission at cm and longer wavelengths. This research was partially supported by NSF grant ATM-0312344, NASA grants NAG5-12111, and NAG5 11918-1 (at Stanford), and NASA grants NAG5-8239, NAG5-9205, and NAG5-8277 (at Arizona).

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: liusm@stanford.edu

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