Poynting Jets from Accretion Disks

Authors: Lovelace R.V.E., Li, H., Ustyugova, G.V.,  Romanova, M.M., Colgate, S.A., 

The powerful narrow jets observed to emanate from many compact accreting objects may arise from the twisting of a magnetic field threading a differentially rotating accretion disk which acts to magnetically extract angular momentum and energy from the disk. Two main regimes have been discussed, {\it hydromagnetic outflows}, which have a significant mass flux and have energy and angular momentum carried by both the matter and the electromagnetic field and, Poynting outflows, where the mass flux is negligible and energy and angular momentum are carried predominantly by the electromagnetic field. Here we consider a Keplerian disk initially threaded by a dipole-like magnetic field and we present solutions of the force-free Grad-Shafranov equation for the coronal plasma. We find solutions with Poynting jets where there is a continuous outflow of energy and toroidal magnetic flux from the disk into the external space. This behavior contradicts the commonly accepted ``theorem'' of Solar plasma physics that the motion of the footpoints of a magnetic loop structure leads to a stationary magnetic field configuration with zero power and flux outflows. In addition we discuss recent magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations which establish that quasi-stationary collimated Poynting jets similar to our Grad-Shafranov solutions arise from the inner part of a disk threaded by a dipole-like magnetic field. At the same time we find that there is a steady uncollimated hydromagnetic outflow from the outer part of the disk. The Poynting jets represent a likely model for the jets from active galactic nuclei, microquasars, and gamma ray burst sources.

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Last updated on 29.01.07