AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 42 Quasars and Active Galaxies
Poster, Wednesday, May 28, 2003, 10:00am-6:45pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[42.08] On the Vertical Structure of Radiation-Supported Accretion Disks

N. J. Turner (UCSB)

I consider the vertical structure of black hole disks accreting near the Eddington rate. Three-dimensional radiation-MHD calculations are used, the local shearing-box approximation is made, and the vertical component of gravity is included. The domain is a small patch of disk lying 100 Schwarzschild radii from a black hole of 108 Solar masses. Gravitational energy is converted to internal energy through the dissipation of turbulence driven by magneto-rotational instability, and the flow cools by loss of radiation from the upper and lower surfaces. I measure the vertical profiles of the accretion stress and dissipation, and examine the overall thermal stability with fluctuations in heating and cooling. The results are compared against the standard assumptions of hydrostatic balance, smooth distribution of material, and energy transport by vertical radiation diffusion.

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