To be published in the proceedings of the 26th Solvay Conference on Physics: "Astrophysics and Cosmology", R. Blandford and A. Sevrin, eds., World Scientific
http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.8132

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

ACCRETING BLACK HOLES

Mitchell C. Begelman


JILA, University of Colorado and National Institute of Standards and Technology
440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0440, USA


Abstract: I outline the theory of accretion onto black holes, and its application to observed phenomena such as X-ray binaries, active galactic nuclei, tidal disruption events, and gamma-ray bursts. The dynamics as well as radiative signatures of black hole accretion depend on interactions between the relatively simple black-hole spacetime and complex radiation, plasma and magnetohydrodynamical processes in the surrounding gas. I will show how transient accretion processes could provide clues to these interactions. Larger global magnetohydrodynamic simulations as well as simulations incorporating plasma microphysics and full radiation hydrodynamics will be needed to unravel some of the current mysteries of black hole accretion.


Keywords: accretion, accretion disks; black hole physics; galaxies: active; stars: gamma-ray burst: general; X-rays: binaries.


Table of Contents

THE SPACETIME CONTEXT

THE GASEOUS ENVIRONMENT

MODES OF ACCRETION
Disklike Accretion
Starlike Accretion
Causes of Radiative Inefficiency

PHENOMENOLOGY OF BLACK HOLE ACCRETION
X-Ray Binaries
Active Galactic Nuclei
Tidal Disruption Events
Gamma-Ray Bursts

UNSOLVED PROBLEMS

LOOKING FORWARD

REFERENCES

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