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Title: THE POWER OF IMAGING: CONSTRAINING THE PLASMA PROPERTIES OF GRMHD SIMULATIONS USING EHT OBSERVATIONS OF Sgr A*

Recent advances in general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations have expanded and improved our understanding of the dynamics of black-hole accretion disks. However, current simulations do not capture the thermodynamics of electrons in the low density accreting plasma. This poses a significant challenge in predicting accretion flow images and spectra from first principles. Because of this, simplified emission models have often been used, with widely different configurations (e.g., disk- versus jet-dominated emission), and were able to account for the observed spectral properties of accreting black holes. Exploring the large parameter space introduced by such models, however, requires significant computational power that exceeds conventional computational facilities. In this paper, we use GRay, a fast graphics processing unit (GPU) based ray-tracing algorithm, on the GPU cluster El Gato, to compute images and spectra for a set of six general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations with different magnetic field configurations and black-hole spins. We also employ two different parametric models for the plasma thermodynamics in each of the simulations. We show that, if only the spectral properties of Sgr A* are used, all 12 models tested here can fit the spectra equally well. However, when combined with the measurement of the image size of the emission usingmore » the Event Horizon Telescope, current observations rule out all models with strong funnel emission, because the funnels are typically very extended. Our study shows that images of accretion flows with horizon-scale resolution offer a powerful tool in understanding accretion flows around black holes and their thermodynamic properties.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Steward Observatory and Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona, 933 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)
  2. Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  3. MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364575
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 799; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; ALGORITHMS; BLACK HOLES; DENSITY; ELECTRONS; GALAXIES; IMAGES; JETS; MAGNETIC FIELD CONFIGURATIONS; PLASMA; RADIANT HEAT TRANSFER; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; RESOLUTION; SPACE; TELESCOPES; THERMODYNAMIC PROPERTIES; THERMODYNAMICS