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Pair Production in Low Luminosity Galactic Nuclei

By Monika Moscibrodzka, Charles F. Gammie, Joshua C. Dolence and Hotaka Shiokawa


Electron-positron pairs may be produced near accreting black holes by a variety of physical processes, and the resulting pair plasma may be accelerated and collimated into a relativistic jet. Here we use a self-consistent dynamical and radiative model to investigate pair production by \gamma\gamma collisions in weakly radiative accretion flows around a black hole of mass M and accretion rate \dot{M}. Our flow model is drawn from general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations, and our radiation field is computed by a Monte Carlo transport scheme assuming the electron distribution function is thermal. We argue that the pair production rate scales as r^{-6} M^{-1} \dot{M}^{6}. We confirm this numerically and calibrate the scaling relation. This relation is self-consistent in a wedge in M, \dot{M} parameter space. If \dot{M} is too low the implied pair density over the poles of the black hole is below the Goldreich-Julian density and \gamma\gamma pair production is relatively unimportant; if \dot{M} is too high the models are radiatively efficient. We also argue that for a power-law spectrum the pair production rate should scale with the observables L_X \equiv X-ray luminosity and M as L_X^2 M^{-4}. We confirm this numerically and argue that this relation likely holds even for radiatively efficient flows. The pair production rates are sensitive to black hole spin and to the ion-electron temperature ratio which are fixed in this exploratory calculation. We finish with a brief discussion of the implications for Sgr A* and M87.Comment: 21 pages, 10 figures, 1 table. Accepted for publication in Ap

Topics: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/735/1/9
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