Journal Article

Monte Carlo simulations of global Compton cooling in inner regions of hot accretion flows

Fu-Guo Xie, Andrzej Niedźwiecki, Andrzej A. Zdziarski and Feng Yuan

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 403, issue 1, pages 170-178
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.16135.x
Monte Carlo simulations of global Compton cooling in inner regions of hot accretion flows

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Hot accretion flows such as advection-dominated accretion flows are generally optically thin in the radial direction. Thus, photons generated at some radii can cool or heat electrons at other radii via Compton scattering. Such global Compton scattering has previously been shown to be important for the dynamics of accretion flows. Here, we extend previous treatments of this problem by using accurate global general relativistic Monte Carlo simulations. We focus on an inner region of the accretion flow (R≤ 600Rg), for which we obtain a global self-consistent solution. As compared to the initial, not self-consistent solution, the final solution has both the cooling rate and the electron temperature significantly reduced at radii of ≳10Rg. On the other hand, the radiation spectrum of the self-consistent solution has a shape similar to that of the initial iteration, except for the high-energy cut-off being at an energy lower by a factor of ∼2 and the bolometric luminosity decreased by a factor of ∼2. We also compare the global Compton scattering model with local models in spherical and slab geometries. We find that the slab model approximates the global model significantly better than the spherical one. Still, neither local model gives a good approximation to the radial profile of the cooling rate, and the differences can be up to two orders of magnitude. The local slab model underestimates the cooling rate at outer regions whereas it overestimates that rate at inner regions. We compare our modelling results to observed hard-state spectra of black hole binaries and find an overall good agreement provided any disc outflow is weak. We find that general relativistic effects in flows whose dynamics is modified by global Comptonization is crucial in approaching this agreement.

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

Journal Article.  7919 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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