Black holes are known to launch powerful relativistic jets and emit highly variable gamma radiation. How these jets are loaded with plasma remains poorly understood. Spark gaps are thought to drive particle acceleration and pair creation in the black-hole magnetosphere. In this Letter, we perform 2D axisymmetric general-relativistic particle-in-cell simulations of a monopole black-hole magnetosphere with a realistic treatment of inverse Compton scattering and pair production. We find that the magnetosphere can self-consistently fill itself with plasma and activate the Blandford-Znajek mechanism. A highly time-dependent spark gap opens near the inner light surface, which injects pair plasma into the magnetosphere. These results may account for the high-energy activity observed in active galactic nuclei and explain the origin of plasma at the base of the jet.
Physical Review Letters
- Pub Date:
- April 2020
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 5 pages, 3 figures + 5 pages, 2 figures in the Supplemental Material. Accepted in Physical Review Letters