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How Black Holes Shine

Astrophysical black holes are surrounded by accretion disks, jets, and coronae consisting of magnetized relativistic plasma. They produce observable high-energy radiation from nearby the event horizon and it is currently unclear how this emission is exactly produced. The radiation typically has a non-thermal component, implying a power-law distribution of emitting relativistic electrons. Magnetic reconnection and plasma turbulence are viable mechanisms to tap the large reservoir of magnetic energy in these systems and accelerate electrons to extreme energies. The accelerated electrons can then emit high-energy photons that themselves may strongly interact with the plasma, rendering a highly nonlinear system. Modeling these systems necessitates a combination of magnetohydrodynamic models to capture the global dynamics of the formation of dissipation regions, and a kinetic treatment of plasma processes that are responsible for particle acceleration, quantum electrodynamics effects like pair creation and annihilation, and radiation. I will present novel studies of accreting black holes and how they radiate in regions close to black hole event horizon, using both first-principles general relativistic kinetic particle-in-cell simulations and global large-scale three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics models. With a combination of models, I determine where and how dissipation of magnetic energy occurs, what kind of emission signatures are typically produced, and what they can teach us about the nature of black holes.

Cody Hall

Prof. Bart Ripperda, CITA, University of Toronto

October 18, 2023
2pm - 3pm