Journal Article

Papaloizou–Pringle instability of magnetized accretion tori

Wen Fu and Dong Lai

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 410, issue 3, pages 1617-1630
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17544.x
Papaloizou–Pringle instability of magnetized accretion tori

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Hot accretion tori around a compact object are known to be susceptible to a global hydrodynamical instability, the so-called Papaloizou–Pringle (PP) instability, arising from the interaction of non-axisymmetric waves across the corotation radius, where the wave pattern speed matches the fluid rotation rate. However, accretion tori produced in various astrophysical situations (e.g. collapsars and neutron star binary mergers) are likely to be highly magnetized. We study the effect of magnetic fields on the PP instability in incompressible tori with various magnetic strengths and structures. In general, toroidal magnetic fields have significant effects on the PP instability. For thin tori (with the fractional width relative to the outer torus radius much less than unity), the instability is suppressed at large field strengths with the corresponding toroidal Alfvén speed v≳ 0.2rΩ (where Ω is the flow rotation rate). For thicker tori (with the fractional width of order 0.4 or larger), which are hydrodynamically stable, the instability sets in for sufficiently strong magnetic fields (with v≳ 0.2rΩ). Our results suggest that highly magnetized accretion tori may be subjected to global instability even when it is stable against the usual magneto-rotational instability.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; hydrodynamics; instabilities; MHD

Journal Article.  5234 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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