Coupled jet-disk model for Sagittarius A*: explaining the flat-spectrum radio core with GRMHD simulations of jets
Context. The supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way, Sgr A*, displays a nearly flat radio spectrum that is typical for jets in active galactic nuclei. Indeed, time-dependent magnetized models of radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs), which are commonly used to explain the millimeter, near-infrared, and X-ray emission of Sgr A*, often also produce jet-like outflows. However, the emission from these models has so far failed to reproduce the flat radio spectrum.
Aims: We investigate whether current accretion simulations can produce the compact flat spectrum emission by simply using a different prescription for the heating of the radiating particles in the jet.
Methods: We studied the radiative properties of accretion flows onto a black hole produced in time-dependent general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations. A crucial free parameter in these models has always been the electron temperature, and here we allowed for variations in the proton-to-electron temperature ratios in the jet and disk.
Results: We found that the flat spectrum is readily reproduced by a standard GRMHD model if one has an almost isothermal jet coupled to a two-temperature accretion flow. The low-frequency radio emission comes from the outflowing sheath of matter surrounding the strongly magnetized nearly empty jet. The model is consistent with the radio sizes and spectrum of Sgr A*.
Conclusions: Hence, GRMHD models of accreting black holes can in principle naturally reproduce jets that match observed characteristics. For Sgr A* the model fit to the spectrum predicts higher mass-accretion rates when a jet is included than without a jet. Hence, the impact of the recently discovered G2 cloud that is expected to be accreted onto Sgr A* might be less severe than currently thought.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- November 2013
- accretion disks;
- black hole physics;
- magnetohydrodynamics (MHD);
- radiative transfer;
- Galaxy: center;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 4 pages, 3 figures, accepted to A&