HEAD 2003 Meeting
Session 21. Active Galactic Nuclei III
Poster, Sunday-Wednesday, March 23, 2003, Duration of Meeting

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[21.08] Accretion of low angular momentum material onto black holes: 2D magnetohydrodynamical case.

D. Proga (JILA, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0440, USA), M.C. Begelman (JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0440 and Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder)

We report on the second phase of our study of slightly rotating accretion flows onto black holes. We consider magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) accretion flows with a spherically symmetric density distribution at the outer boundary, but with spherical symmetry broken by the introduction of a small, latitude-dependent angular momentum and a weak radial magnetic field. We study accretion flows by means of numerical 2D, axisymmetric, MHD simulations with and without resistive heating. Our main result is that the properties of the accretion flow depend mostly on an equatorial accretion torus. Initially, accretion occurs only through the polar funnel, as in the hydrodynamic inviscid case, where material has zero or very low angular momentum. The material that has too much angular momentum to be accreted directly forms a thick torus near the equator. However, in the later phase of the evolution, the transport of angular momentum due to the magnetorotational instability (MRI) facilitates accretion through the torus, too. The torus thickens towards the poles and develops a corona or an outflow or both. Consequently, the mass accretion through the funnel is stopped. The accretion of rotating gas through the torus is significantly reduced compared to the accretion of non-rotating gas (i.e., the Bondi rate). Our results do not change if we switch on or off resistive heating. Overall our simulations are very similar those presented by Stone, Pringle, Hawley and Balbus despite different initial and outer boundary conditions. Thus, we confirm that the MRI is very robust and controls the nature of radiatively inefficient accretion flows.

DP acknowledges support from NASA under LTSA grant NAG5-11736 and support provided by NASA through grant AR-09532 from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. MB acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-9876887.

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

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