Tuesday, March 7th: A Light in the Dark: New Radiation MHD Simulations of Astrophysical Systems

Event Date: 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida Hall
  • Broida Hall 1640
  • Physics Colloquium

A detailed understanding of how radiation (i.e light) is emitted and transported is essential for the interpretation of astrophysical phenomenon.  For years, magnetohydrodynamic simulations have provided key tools for understanding the dynamics of astrophysical systems, but the direct modeling of radiation has usually been neglected or implemented with crude approximations.  These limitations have been particularly problematic in systems where the momentum in the radiation field becomes dynamically important.  My collaborators and I have addressed these limitations by developing novel algorithms that enable first principles modeling of the radiation field in numerical simulations.  I will present simulation results for black holes that are accreting mass at such high rates that the radiation forces exceed gravitational forces and drive gas from the system.  I will then discuss how these results help us interpret a class of luminous X-ray sources, understand the growth of supermassive black holes in the early universe, and the tidal disruption of stars by black holes.

Yan-Fei Jiang, UCSB