Journal Article

Corotational damping of discoseismic c modes in black hole accretion discs

David Tsang and Dong Lai

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 393, issue 3, pages 992-998
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14228.x
Corotational damping of discoseismic c modes in black hole accretion discs

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Discoseismic c modes in accretion discs have been invoked to explain low-frequency variabilities observed in black hole X-ray binaries. These modes are trapped in the innermost region of the disc and have frequencies much lower than the rotation frequency at the disc inner radius. We show that because the trapped waves can tunnel through the evanescent barrier to the corotational wave zone, the c modes are damped due to wave absorption at the corotation resonance. We calculate the corotational damping rates of various c modes using the Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (WKB) approximation. The damping rate varies widely depending on the mode frequency, the black hole spin parameter and the disc sound speed, and is generally much less than 10 per cent of the mode frequency. A sufficiently strong excitation mechanism is needed to overcome this corotational damping and make the mode observable.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; black hole physics; hydrodynamics; waves; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  3094 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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