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2019 Cool Sci @ STScI / JHU

Predicting Spectra from Accreting Black Hole Simulations

Presented by: Brooks Kinch (JHU)
Category: Science Colloquia   Duration: 30 minutes   Broadcast date: January 23, 2019
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Abstract: Analysis of their X-ray spectra remains the primary means by which to probe the inner accretion flow and spacetime geometry of black holes, both for stellar-mass black holes (in binary systems) and supermassive active galactic nuclei. The state-of-the-art of black hole spectral analysis involves representing the individual components of these spectra by analytic or semi-analytic models predicated on parameterized descriptions of the accretion flow geometry. I present a new technique for the production of model spectra directly from 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations. By combining the Monte Carlo radiation transport code PANDURATA in the corona with the new disk reprocessing code PTRANSX, we make predictions for the spectrum as seen by the distant observer (including line and continuum features) which rest upon a more realistic description of the black hole environment---the output of a modern 3D GRMHD simulation. Our method translates global simulation data into readily observable spectral data, allowing for direct comparison between theory and observation.