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Title: Misaligned accretion on to supermassive black hole binaries
Authors: Dunhill, A. C.
Alexander, R. D.
Nixon, C. J.
King, Andrew R.
First Published: 17-Oct-2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2014, 445 (3), pp. 2285-2296 (12)
Abstract: We present the results of high-resolution numerical simulations of gas clouds falling on to binary supermassive black holes to form circumbinary accretion discs, with both prograde and retrograde cloud orbits. We explore a range of clouds masses and cooling rates. We find that for low-mass discs that cool fast enough to fragment, prograde discs are significantly shorter lived than similar discs orbiting retrograde with respect to the binary. For fragmenting discs of all masses, we also find that prograde discs fragment across a narrower radial region. If the cooling is slow enough that the disc enters a self-regulating gravitoturbulent regime, we find that alignment between the disc and binary planes occurs on a time-scale primarily dictated by the disc thickness. We estimate realistic cooling times for such discs, and find that in the majority of cases we expect fragmentation to occur. The longer lifetime of low-mass fragmenting retrograde discs allows them to drive significant binary evolution, and may provide a mechanism for solving the ‘last parsec problem’.
DOI Link: 10.1093/mnras/stu1914
ISSN: 0035-8711
eISSN: 1365-2966
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2014 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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