AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 103. HEAD II: New Directions in X-Ray Astronomy
Special, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 6AB

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[103.03] New Directions in Black Hole Astrophysics

C.S. Reynolds (University of Maryland)

The astrophysics of accreting black holes has been a scientific focus of most major future X-ray missions. In this presentation, I will describe how our science goals and expectations have been effected by new data from Chandra and XMM-Newton as well as new theoretical work. I will argue on the basis of XMM-Newton data that black hole spin does not manifest itself through subtle effects but may have dramatic astrophysical consequences. If this is correct, the exotic astrophysics of black hole spin, including astrophysical realizations of the Penrose and Blandford-Znajek processes, will be a principal focus of Constellation-X, XEUS and MAXIM. On the other hand, data from the late stages of the RXTE/ASCA missions as well as XMM-Newton suggest that the simple technique of relativistic X-ray iron line reverberation mapping, which was originally touted as a good method for studying the inner accretion disk, may be hard to realize. Finally, I will discuss recent theoretical/simulation work on the appearance of a MHD turbulent accretion disk around a black hole. Such simulations may be a good framework to understand future timing observations of Galactic Black Hole Candidates and their quasi-periodic oscillations. They also suggest a quantitative way of measuring the space-time geometry around supermassive black holes in AGN.

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